The Red Oak ISD board of trustees met Monday night, approving an amended 2007-2008 budget of just under $34 million. Trustees will vote on the 2007-2008 fiscal year tax rate during its September meeting.
During the meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and operation John Humphrey discussed cash flow projections with the board.
“I would like to do a brief update to the board by starting with our cash flow projections,” Humphrey said. “At the present time, that seems to be the issue we’re faced with the most. On Aug. 1, we ran some cash flow projections but obviously, our past position has forced us to make some tough decisions.”
As part of a PowerPoint presentation, Humphrey discussed ramifications of House Bill 1, noting it makes revenue increase almost impossible, with reducing expenditures the only viable way to balance the budget.
Non-payroll and payroll expenditures had to be evaluated, he said, while also developing a plan to increase teacher and staff salaries to remain competitive in the market.
“If we manage our cash flow properly, we will be able to have a steady cash flow and not have to borrow money from other resources (in the future),” Humphrey said. “Our goal is get to a 12.5 percent ratio of general fund expenditures (as a fund balance).”
A 12.5 percent ratio is the state’s minimum recommended threshold for a fund balance.
With a projected shortfall in cash flow for ROISD prior to the state depositing money into the district’s account Sept. 10, trustees authorized Superintendent Scott Niven to establish a short-term line of credit not to exceed $2.5 million.
Humphrey also touched on a recent reduction in force of non-contract positions.
“We were forced to let go of 57 personnel positions, including 41 employees, four contractors and 12 vacant positions and that’s not easy for a board of trustee member or an administration employee,” he said. “But even after the personnel reduction, we’re still at the state and region average. As far as the 2007-2008 revised operating expenses, we are keeping track of all expenses and we do have money going into the classrooms. We want the board to know where we are financially.”
Also noted in Humphrey’s presentation was a pay raise of $750 per year for all teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors, and a 1 percent of TASB midpoint for other staff, with a fiscal impact of $650,000.
In other business, Corgan, principle architect, reviewed the preliminary schematic plan for the new Shields Elementary.
“I’m just showing an organizational concept of the site plan of the new Shields Elementary School that we’ve been working on for three months,” Hulsey said. “One of our main concerns is improving the traffic flow around the building. We’re trying to make the traffic accessibility more flexible by keeping the fire lanes open and also providing a lane for student pickup. We even have a larger parking zone by the bus drop-off area.”
“We need to free open parking spots for our visitors and make parking more available,” board member Dr. Mark Stanfill said.
Hulsey also went over the floor plan for the new school’s library.
“The library is the heart of the building and we want everyone to know that this is where information is obtained,” he said. “Each grade level will obtain its own identity and will gain easy access to the library.”
ROISD director of instruction Dr. Brenda Flowers presented a summary to the board about the district’s state and federal ratings.
“We met AYP ratings at all seven of our campuses and because of the way the ratings are, it’s becoming more difficult to meet them,” she said. “As far as the state rate, we are familiar with that, but the guidelines to meet the recognized rate have increased by 5 percent. Overall, we really see a positive growth here and we’ve made good progress in the past three years.”
On another topic, Flowers received approval for a policy change that will require personnel to give three days advance notification on anticipated absences.
A maximum percentage of 20 percent of campus employees will be allowed discretionary personal leave on any given day, with the policy establishing a maximum duration of five for the consecutive discretionary leave days.
The policy also establishes schedule limitations for high-need or hard-to-fill days and lowers the medical certification requirement concerning the number of consecutive days absent due to personal illness or family illness from “more than five” to “more than three.”
Niven received approval of his recommendation for a reduction in force in central administration due to program changes.
Two positions will be eliminated - director of instructional technology and assistant superintendent of personnel - with other personnel absorbing the duties.
Cadence McShane was approved as construction manager-at-risk for the high school project.