Discussions continue on how to move forward after failed referendum
By ARIANA R. CHERRY
The Arthur School Board met on Wednesday August 17, a few hours after some had just had their first day back at school after summer break. Principals and staff were excited and still giddy from the day’s activities. Principal Seegmiller and Nathan Seal had spent the day grilling out for the students’ first day and playing games. “It was the best first day of school I’ve ever had. It was awesome!” Seal said happily. Both had joked about who had smelled worse from standing behind the grill.
After sharing some of the day’s activities, the board got down to business and spoke about the tentative FY 2023 budget.
“I am cautiously optimistic. Thanks to Haley while I was gone on vacation and tying up some loose ends on the budget and I also want to thank the admin team,” Shannon Cheek spoke. “I have been working on some estimations in terms of revenues.
We are in pretty good shape with this, but it is tentative,” he noted. Cheek went on to explain a bit more about the school’s tentative budget. “ALAH District is considered a Tier 3 school. We are operating in 90% adequacy. The increase they received in funding is pretty minimal. We received about $22,000 extr. We might receive the same as what we got last year. As always, we under-estimate the revenue and overestimate the expenses, he informed.
The projected balances for 6/30/23 are as noted: Education Fund: $4,273,025; Operation and Maintenance: $1,738,757; Transportation: $375,056; Working Cash: 880,253; which makes the subtotal of operating funds at $7,267,091.
Shannon also informed the board about a few projects that needed to be made aware of. Two chimneys, both the high school and Arthur Grade School needed attention, the track needed to be repaired or resurfaced and the parking lots in the school district also needed some work. He explained that he would be getting ready to put together a three year projection within the district’s budget and would have it for the board soon. After going over the tentative budget and talking about possible upcoming projects, the tentative FY 2023 budget was approved and would be on file for the next 30 days. The hearing will take place at the next board meeting in September.
Moving forward with the agenda, the Presence Learning School Psychologist Contract was approved.
Shannon and the board spoke again about the failed referendum and what to do about the facilities moving forward. He noted that potential health life safety items would be reviewed for completion. Shannon had spoken with Dr. Zimmerman who had three failed referendums in the past. He was interested in how Dr. Zimmerman had moved forward after each one. “It was comforting to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel after going through a failed referendum,” Shannon quoted.
Some of the questions that arose included:
1). Are we interested in proceeding again?
2). How can we get some feedback from the public? Do we want to move forward with another referendum?
Shannon noted that November or the spring of 2023 might be too quick of a turnaround and thought maybe the spring of 2024 might be more reachable.
Regardless of what the district does with the failed referendum, Shannon informed the board that within a week or two of after school has started, he will begin getting photos of items around the district – projects that need to be completed, so that he can get an idea of “what we are looking for when it comes to dollars.” There have been some sewer issues at the Lovington Grade School and water issues at the Atwood-Hammond Grade School. “This process will be helpful,” Shannon noted.
Shannon also explained that he wanted to figure out how to communicate more effectively with the community. “What more can we do for our kids – not just air conditioning- but what type of other classes and opportunities can we offer, etc?,” he asked. Shannon also noted that the buildings in the district weren’t getting any younger.
“The bones of this building (the high school) are really good, but it is going to need some attention. It is very old,” he said. Looking back, Shannon also mentioned that in an attempt to be completely transparent, somehow the information they were trying to get across to the community got twisted. He’d like to find out why the people didn’t turn up to vote on the referendum? “Was there not enough information?” Shannon thought aloud. “It is time to regroup and move forward,” he said.
There was also some discussion on school improvement. “We made significant gains last year,” Shannon noted. We will finish up and review some of the work we did last year. The hope this year is to complete those to where they will be on the website.
Once those documents are complete, the community will be able to pull up those documents online and see what is going on with each grade. I am excited about the work being done. The feedback we got last year was pretty positive,” he said.
After discussing some of the tougher topics, Shannon ended his public portion of the meeting with celebrations. “The kids are back! The buildings come alive when the kids are here and it reminds you why you do what you do,” Shannon quoted happily.
He also thanked the administrative assistants, “There is a lot of work that they do and they are our front line,” he said. Shannon thanked the administrators for the work that they do and the work they did to get the year started. He also pointed out Steffanie Seegmiller and Nathan Seal. “You go so far above and beyond for what you do for the kids. It is impressive with the amount of work that you do to make our kids feel welcome,” he said appreciatively.
“Our kids here are loved. Our kids walk around here with smiles on their faces. They may not admit it, but they like being here,” Shannon beamed.
August 17, 2022
Consider accepting Special Education Teacher Mrs. Katie Burdick letter of resignation.
Accept the letter of retirement from Tina Harvey, Music at AHGS
Consider approving Megan Miller as the Administrative Assistant at AGS replacing Erin Clemons
Consider approving Christine Giorgi as an aide (library) at LGS – new
Consider approving Oakley Martin as an aide at LGS replacing Stephanie Harris
Consider approving Emily Mills as an aide at AGS replacing Jennifer Lyons
Consider approving the resignation of Stephanie Harris as an aide at LGS
Consider accepting letter of resignation from Jennifer Lyons as an aide at AGS
Consider approving Faith Rund as the Drama Sponsor replacing Kendall Huffman
Consider approving Matt Thomas as the Food Pantry Coordinator replacing Kathy Frye
Consider approving Amy Tighe as Yearbook Sponsor replacing Jennifer Vogel
Consider approving Christian Gomez as Assistant Soccer coach replacing Greg Thorne
Consider approving Bryton Ragon as a volunteer Cross Country Coach
Consider accepting letter of resignation from Greg Thorne as Assistant Soccer Coach