Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Numbers up at elementary school

August 13, 2008

Enrollment is increasing at Tonganoxie Elementary School.

TES principal Tammie George reported at Monday's meeting that enrollment, so far, has increased by 32 students this year. On Tuesday, increased enrollment projections jumped to 61.

And, there are 140 kindergartners projected to be enrolled, George said Tuesday

"We're busting at the seams again," George told the board Monday.

She said some of the new families selected Tonganoxie instead of Basehor-Linwood and Piper school districts, but parents "didn't all share what their rationale was."

The ideal class was to be 17 or 18 students per teacher, but with seven kindergarten teachers, that number will be around 20 per class.

"We don't have any additional classrooms to add a teacher without displacing someone else," George said.

This also is the first year of all-day kindergarten in the district.

Middle school enrollment started Tuesday and concludes Thursday.

2008-09 budget approved

The school board approved its upcoming budget, which will include 52.401 mills, a reduction of 2.72 mills from the previous year.

As part of this year's budget, Superintendent Richard Erickson included a 5.23 mill reduction from last year for the bond and interest fund to make up for a tax-filing error he made a year ago.

Originally, Erickson planned to reduce the mill during the next three years to repay taxpayers, with interest, for the error.

However, Erickson said it was possible to rectify the error in one year because the district collected extra revenue during the last school year because of the tax overcharge. The overcharge produced higher balances in the bond and interest budget.

Also, the bonds were refinanced to provide lower payments for taxpayers by extending the bond issue from 25 years to 26 years.

Erickson also noted the local-option budget was raised by 2.51 mills to fund additional employees needed for all-day kindergarten, high school block scheduling and other certified and classified positions that have been added the last several years. All-day kindergarten and block scheduling are being implemented for the first time this school year.

Regarding this year's budget, Erickson also stressed that the published budget is inflated so that the district may take advantage of state aid opportunities and eliminate the need to republish the budget at a later date, which would cost the district additional funds.

A public hearing was held at 5:45 p.m. to discuss the budget, but no patrons spoke during that time.

Roof work nearly finished; sidewalk issues addressed

Roof maintenance at the high school and elementary school should be completed Thursday or Friday, maintenance director Larry Easter told the school board. Work is being done on the eastern-most portion of the high school's east campus, while work at Tonganoxie Elementary School is at the Quansa hut. American Roofing of Leavenworth is doing both projects for $261,146 total.

Board members also asked Easter about the sidewalk on the east side of TES. Board member Mildred McMillon said safety is a concern regarding portions of the sidewalk. Easter said he's awaiting word whether the district will receive a grant to fix the sidewalk. If a grant is not secured, gravel would be used to fill in areas before a long-term plan is devised.

"It just looks like an accident waiting to happen," McMillon said.

The board member also voiced concern about the maintenance department having less summer help this year, a measure implemented to save costs.

She did, however, say lawns throughout the campuses "look good."

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