By Mary Alice Murphy
The Silver City Consolidated Schools Board met in work session just after 5 p.m. to discuss the budget, which was to be considered in the regular meeting to begin at 6 p.m.
Throughout the work session, people streamed into the room to get seats for the later regular meeting.
Candy Milam, district financial agent, gave a PowerPoint presentation of the highlights of the budget. "The revenue is based on the 80-day and 120-day count of students at each school. Kindergarten populations are projected to drop in units from 415 in 2014 to 296 in 2015. We will be up by 15 units in the special education and down by 63 units in the ancillary full-time employees."
"Then-Governor (Bill) Richardson promised full funding of elementary schools," Milam said. "But the only school in our district that got full funding was Sixth Street Elementary. Funding went down and no more was available for other elementary schools."
She said one concern is that those teachers with more training and experience are retiring, decreasing the number of units toward revenue. The loss is expected to be about $378,846. The at-risk index is based on student mobility and that is up nine units. The charter school student activities is up .35 of a unit, allowing the students from Aldo Leopold Charter School to take part in sports and music programs, for example. The same applies to home-schooled students, bringing the unit number up .375.
"If a kindergarten student leaves, the school stands to lose $6,685 the next year," Milam said. "If a first grader leaves, the district loses $5, 570; second and third grade loses $4,478 per student loss; grades 4-6, a loss of $4, 851 per student; and grades 7-12, a loss of $5,804 per student.
"We lost units, but the unit value made a big jump up," she continued. The governor gave us extra money above and below the line. The school funding formula is above the line, and the funding below the line is controlled by the governor."
She pointed out that 87.6 percent of the budget goes to salaries and benefits, with the base salaries accounting for $14.794 million, but including the benefits, jumping to $20.645 million.
"The budget for fiscal year 2014 was $23,136,144, and the proposed budget to 2015 is $23,330,745, an increase of $194,601," Milam said. She told the Beat that the projected cash reserve of 4 percent, about $935, 574, is a conservative estimate and could go up. The state asks for a 4-6 percent reserve.
"We have a mature group of teachers, and as they resign and retire, we lose T&E units," Milam said. "We expect a decrease of 50 students to the charter school, causing a $238,000 loss.
"Our accomplishments include a 3 percent plus step up for teachers, and a 6 percent increase for instructional assistance," Milam continued. "We have revised the ancillary salary schedule upward." To a question about the ancillary salaries going up, Milam said the school district did it a while back, but was waiting for union approval.
Superintendent Lon Streib said the board members would later in the regular meeting be asked to approve the budget, which is based on the prior year's student population. "My recommendation is to approve."
Amy Jauriqui, Silver School nursing supervisor, gave a report on proposed revisions to policy. Her first report was an update on immunization requirements. She explained that the changes in the Department of Health requirements conflict with the Public Education Department, but the school's policy would follow the DOH requirements, in hopes of reconciliation between the two departments.
"One change in policy that it is now parents' responsibilities to get the forms for exemptions and send them in," Jauriqui said. "For child abuse protection, the training for new staff has changed, and there will be required new training for returning staff. Family Life Education includes sex abuse in the curriculum appropriate to age."
She said Senate Bill 75, which passed and was signed, now allows school districts, which opt in, to store a few select medications without a pharmacy license. "We can request supporting information from the student's doctor."
Streib asked if the school boards would have to approve the changes, or "if we wish to make the changes we have to request them?"
Jauriqui said recommended language is provided.
Discussion ensued on the dates and times for a proposed board retreat July 11-12, out-of-town, in Las Cruces. It was decided the retreat would begin at 2 p.m. on the Friday.
A time to work on board goals was set for June 2 at 5:30 p.m.
"Mrs. Lougee has told me the graduation requirements will go up next year by 1/2 credit to 24 ½ to be in compliance with state requirements," Streib said. "The ½ credit will be an elective."
Milam handed to board members the bids on cafeteria supplies, primarily canned goods.
Streib asked for any other business during the work session. As there was none, the session was adjourned, with the regular meeting to begin at 6 p.m.
Editor's Note: the next article(s) will address the regular school board meeting.