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Van-Far takes closer look at money saving options

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 9:44 am

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter

Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter presented some information for the school board to consider in relation to the district’s finances during the monthly meeting held last Thursday.
A quick summary showed the delicate balancing act the district is having to do with declining revenues due to the state formula along with projected expenses.
Items discussed include a historical snapshot of the district’s revenues and expenses during the past five school years, WADA, research on four-day weeks, transportation, health insurance costs, and class sizes.
The four-day week report showed area districts like Wellsville-Middletown saving $50,000 in the first year, Community R-VI saving $60,000, and Montgomery County saving $215,000.
Only one of 16 districts switched back to the five-day week.
Tax rates were also looked at.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter reported that total enrollment is 588 students, with 273 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 315 in the elementary.
He reported that there are three change orders from Crawford Construction that are being looked at, with a total of approximately $8,000. There will be one final payment to Crawford Construction of approximately $29,800.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter also reported on moisture concerns in the Science Wing. He has contacted a vendor to come and test next week.  The cost is estimated at $1,500–2,200. The MUSIC Insurance policy should provide some coverage of the cost.
It was noted that School Bus Safety Week is October 17-21. Superintendent Dr. Hunter expressed appreciation to Transportation Director Charlie Stroker and the bus drivers.  He also pointed out that the safety record is good.
Principal’s Reports
Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Principal Kim Pafford noted that the district has purchased Head Strong Concussion Insurance for participating student athletes during the 2016-2017 school year.
Van-Far Elementary Principal Brian Hummel said the Book Fair was held October 24-28.
There was a first reading of MSBA Policy Updates 2016C.  These policies address bullying and hazing.  Superintendent Dr. Hunter asked for consideration of these policies to be approved upon the second reading at the next board meeting.
The third reading of MSBA Policy Updates 2016B was adopted with the following policies: AFA, BBFA, CGC, DD, DID, DIE, DJF, DJFA, DLCA, and GBCA.
Courtney Blattel gave a VFTA report and said the group now has 36 paid members from the district.
Enrollment shows 588 total students with 273 in the Jr./Sr. High School and 315 in the elementary.
A proposed budget amendment was discussed and approved.
Board member Kimber Nation noted that the Special Education Department received a donation from the Ed French Foundation, per Melissa Deimeke’s report.
Board member Pete Nasir gave Superintendent Dr. Hunter information on a free solar power estimate.
It was noted that some members of the board recently attended the MSBA Conference and the group shared some information from the sessions.
Local Assessment/MAP
Gena Gibson and Amanda Reading, District Assessment Coordinators, presented the Local Assessment Plan and Assessment Report and they were approved by the board. The report showed the 7th grade scoring above the state percentage for students in the top two levels of proficient and advanced.
The 3rd and 4th grade, Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry also scored above the state percentage for students in proficient and advanced.
Concerns include the 5th grade scoring significantly below the state percentage, 5th-8th grade students scoring significantly below the state percentage in Math, 5th grade and Physical Science scoring significantly below, and American History also showing significantly below the state percentage in the top two levels of Proficient and Advanced.