A presentation by middle school students who took the Product Development and Manufacturing class highlighted the Converse County School District #1 regular school board meeting on Valentine's Day. Students showed the board members their products,
explained how their business plan was developed, and shared advice they would give younger students about taking the class. Instructors Chad Gibson and Adam Pauli told the board that students work in teams to develop a product, a marketing plan, and a budget.
Spotlight employees of the month were Head Cook Judy Wallis and Head Cashier Nicole Ricks from the Nutrition Services division.
When an employee was injured in a serious accident, these two stepped up and provided the necessary leadership and teamwork so the department didn’t skip a beat. Division director Monty Gilbreath praised Judy and Nicole for their dedication to collaborative work and to addressing adversity in a positive manner while continuing to ensure the high operational standards and customer expectations of the division were upheld.
The high school art department thanked the board for the ability to purchase a computerized mat cutting machine, and the artwork displayed in the board room was framed in creative mats. Students are learning to program the machine to cut the intricate designs they choose using precise measurements and in the process are making decisions on how best to finish their own artwork and show it more professionally. The sculptural art work on display was made of fused glass objects as well as textured metal boxes. The paintings are done in pastel and pen and ink.
In board business, the board approved the rural school calendar for next year. The rural schools will stay on a four-day week. The board also read a new reduction in force policy (RIF) for the first time. The board is taking written comments on the policy, and plan to read and approve it at the March meeting. The board is requesting written comments by March 13 so they can be reviewed before the meeting.
Finally, because the district is facing a significant funding cut due to loss of enrollment, the board released an initial statement so that staff and stakeholders are aware of the amount of and nature of the cuts being considered. Here is the board's statement:
In light of student enrollment losses, Converse County School District #1 is considering the following budget cuts for the 2017-18 school year. With the current loss of enrollment, we will need to cut at least one million dollars from our budget. In the event that legislative action imposes additional budget cuts, there will likely be additional program and staffing reductions.
Operations and Programs
1. Cutting school supply budgets by 5%
2. Dropping swimming instruction during the school day
3. Cutting drivers' education
4. Cutting Spanish at Douglas Middle School
5. Reducing district support services such as the SRO program, school nurses, and others
6. Reducing some vocational program offerings
7. Reducing activity programs based upon participation numbers
8. Reducing activity travel budgets by no longer paying for meals
The previously mentioned cuts and additional staff cuts could result in the following budget reductions.
Certified staff $375,000 +/-
Classified staff $300,000 +
Activities $210,000 +/-
Administrative staff $330,000 +/-
It's important to understand that the funding decrease due to loss of enrollment will occur no matter what the legislature does regarding school district funding cuts. There could be additional required cuts if the legislature reduces school funding.