MEEKER I At several Meeker Board of Education (BOE) meetings, Dr. Bob Dorsett has asked the board to identify the “more than $130,000 in grants for various educational and academic improvement programs in the 2013-14 academic year” that High School Building Accountability Committee (BAC) co-chairs Robert D. Amick and Stacy Hudelson and BAC member Laurie Zellers stated then that high school principal, Kim Ibach, had obtained.
Their statement was part of a nine page letter the three submitted to the BOE in May 2014 in support of Ibach being retained as principal by the board.
Since the July 7 BOE meeting last week, new Superintendent Chris Selle said he has spent some time digging, trying to get to the bottom of this ongoing question.
In a letter to Dorsett last week, Selle explained that he has discussed the matter with Amick, who indicated that the total grants amount came from a conversation he had with Ibach. According to Selle, Amick now says that the $130,000-plus total actually included grant monies that had been received as well as grant applications which had been submitted but not yet received.
Selle wrote that the school district, relevant to the 2013-14 school year, received $90,710 from the Meeker Cemetery District for high school auditorium renovation, art, band and advanced placement training support.
Also, the high school and middle school received $10,000 from the Cemetery District for physical education supplies. In addition, the high school received $15,000 from the Fairfield Trust for auditorium renovation. These grants totaled $115,710.
Selle added, however, that Ibach was not involved in the art and band grants, totaling $20,000, as those were submitted by the individual teachers. Thus, the total grant amount known to have been received by the district related to Ibach for 2013-14 was $95,710, plus another Fairfield Trust grant of $13,560, which was received in November 2014, also for auditorium renovation.
This makes the Ibach-submitted and received grants total $109,270, he said.
The difference between that amount and the $130,000-plus of the Amick, et. al., letter appears to be from grants submitted but not received, or perhaps some exaggeration on Ibach’s part.
Selle suggested further information should be available from Amick and/or Ibach. Selle searched district offices for evidence of other grants having been submitted but couldn’t find anything definitive.
The new superintendent noted he sees the need for greater control and tracking of grant applications made in the name of the district.
Selle assured Dorsett that there are no “missing funds” as far as the school district is concerned.
Dorsett would like to see the district establish procedures for more careful documentation of grant applications filed on behalf of the district and their results. Dorsett also suggested that district and building accountability committees—the existence of which are mandated by state statute—be required to file timely minutes of their meetings.
On the subject of school finance, the Meeker BOE is hosting a meeting with our state representative, Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, in the district board room at 555 Garfield St. at 6 p.m. on July 20.