By Emily Bialkowski
The Caledonia School District’s annual audit yielded some good news – in terms of how well the district tracks and manages funds – as well as a lingering negative note about the fund balance.
Kim Hillberg, partner with CliftonLarsonAllen, said the general fund balance should be between 8 to 16 percent of the school’s yearly budget, but Caledonia is sitting at 4.3 percent, or $382,544.
“Declining enrollment, inflation, the state delaying payments, no increases in state aid – you have all these factors working against you,” Hillberg said. “The key will be trying to maintain or build upon what you have.”
Since 2008 the school district has seen its enrollment decline from 946 to 830 in 2012. Despite such obstacles, Hillberg said overall it was a clean year for the district and that, “Everything is in a pretty good state when we get here.
The school board touched on other budgetary items during their regular meeting Dec. 17, including adopting the final levy in the amount of $2,488,993, which represents a 1 percent increase – $24,774 – over year prior.
They were also informed that money still exists from the 2011 one-day bond. Approximately $143,000 is available to address some of the district’s needs.
Superintendent Ben Barton said the full amount wasn’t expended in 2011 due to timing issues; however, “The timing things have worked themselves out and we now can utilize some additional funds.”
Board members said they’d be happy to consider suggestions with higher priority, and Barton said he will oblige.
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Erin Becker as the School Age Care (SAC) supervisor effective Dec. 31 with thanks for her services to the school district. Meghan VonArx will be her successor beginning Jan. 2, 2013, at $11.51 per hour.
The board also agreed to:
• Ratify the contract for Eddie Hodges as the assistant boys and girls track coach beginning the 2012-13 school year at a rate of $1,879.
• Ratify the technology coordinator contract for the 2012-13 school year with Eric Jerviss in the amount of $47,705 (1.5 percent salary increase).
• Ratify the cook manager contract for the 2011-13 school years with Rita McCormick in the amount of $14,868 for the 2011-12 school year (no salary increase) and $15,094 for the 2012-13 school year (1.5 percent salary increase).
• Ratify the head custodian/maintenance director contract for the 2012-13 school year with Blaine Moe in the amount of $44,660 (1.5 percent salary increase).
• Ratify community education director contract for the 2011-13 school years with Nancy Runningen in the amount of $57,598 for the 2011-12 school year (no salary increase) and $58,462 for the 2012-13 school year (1.5 percent salary increase).
The board unanimously adopted a code of ethics policy and introduced the school discipline policy for review.
They also approved the 2013-14 school calendar, with the stipulation that it is subject to change under unforeseen circumstances.
The superintendent, along with other administrators, gives a monthly update on any special projects or efforts getting attention. Most recently the schools have been working diligently to address bullying.
“We’re an organization of learning, and for learning to occur we have to be a safe place,” Barton said.
“I do hope there could be a future school board showcase presentation on what is happening in school related to bully prevention.
“Along the same lines, tragedy in Connecticut has made us more aware of what we have in place here. We have procedures in place; however, we can improve our procedures,” he said.
Congratulations were extended to Scott Koepke for being selected the 2012 Winona Daily News Volleyball Coach of the Year as well as Brent Schroeder for being selected the 2012 Winona Daily News Football Coach of the Year.
Congratulations were also extended to Spencer Yohe for receiving the MSBA Director’s Award for 2012-13 for completing 100 or more hours of attendance at MSBA and NSBA sponsored meetings and activities within a four-year period of time.
Recognition was given to Kim Torgeson for her positive representation of the school district and being a leader in the Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children. Recognition was similarly given to Alison Goergen for her contributions to the Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children state newsletter.
The school board will host a short organizational meeting on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m.