With some hesitation Monday night, Clay Central-Everly school board members tentatively voiced consensus on an amendment to a financial workout plan they already approved for fiscal year 2012. The move was requested by School Budget Review Committee representatives, which CC-E officials are scheduled to present to on Monday, Dec. 12.
"I think if we present our plan well, we'll be OK because we've done an awful lot of work on it," Superintendent Robert Raymer said. "This is only one part of it. There's a whole bunch of other parts we had to work on. If we go along with what they request, though, I think we have a good chance at it because of the number of cuts we've made. We just want to be able to be on favorable footing as far as the state is concerned."
The state officials requested more information and a corrective action plan, in part, because auditors found a double recording of the amount raised during a December 2010 fundraiser.
As Raymer outlined the additional cuts in expenditures he was proposing, he listed a $6,000 cut in supplies and a one-quarter decrease in administration. Raymer also suggested additional revenues in the form of an approximately $23,000 increase in preschool foundation aid in the amended workout plan he presented.
Board member Scott Rinehart argued the state's request does not make sense, especially given that CC-E is currently operating with far too few teachers.
To better explain the severity of the situation the district faces, Shirley Cain explained to Rinehart, "In reality, if we end up negative for four years in a row, fiscal year 12, and we haven't made a plan, they could close us."
Approving the amendment presented Monday night would also mean the SBRC would be more favorable to the district during its Dec. 12 presentation, Raymer said.
"If we don't vote for this, and basically do what they want us to do, they can make it rough," board member Curtis Langner told Rinehart. " ... But, I agree with Scott. It doesn't make sense."
President Sue Brugman also told her peers around the board table that the district had been granted a window of grace because the plan was originally due Monday.
The board, meanwhile, is scheduled to take formal action on the amended workout plan at 7 p.m. tonight in the Everly music room. It will then be over-nighted to state officials.
In other discussion, Raymer and Brugman revealed they visited with Iowa Auditor David Vaudt following his presentation last week at the Iowa Association of School Boards Convention in Des Moines. The CC-E duo asked if there would be any way to get a preview of action anticipated prior to the district's Dec. 12 presentation to the SBRC. The two CC-E representatives also asked when the district might anticipate receiving its 2010 audit results from the state.
As requested, Raymer telephoned Vaudt Monday, but received no answer to either question.
"He is very aware of the situation," Raymer said.
"He did say it is a very, very complicated audit," Brugman added.
The board president also explained having as many board members in attendance at next month's presentation would be helpful for the district because it would show a united front.
* Board members unanimously approved CC-E transitioning from an 11-man to an eight-man football team in 2012. District representatives have discussed the matter for two years.
"I think it's a pretty obvious decision," CC-E Athletic Director Paul Wick told the board.
When board member Curtis Langner queried how much such a move would cost the district, Wick answered the cost to alter the playing field and make it an 80-by-40 area.
"But the savings would be a lot less travel," Wick added.
Wick, who is responsible for filing papers with state representatives by Dec. 1, also mentioned CC-E will still play a nine-game schedule in 2012.
* Principal Curt Busch proposed the district implement an alternative diploma program.
Citing five dropouts outlined in CC-E's 2009-10 annual progress report, Busch noted the district will have another site visit in 2012. Prior to this state visit, district officials need to take steps to modify and change areas such as this, in order to show growth.
The alternative diploma, as presented by Busch, would be for CC-E students who are at least one year behind in achieving the 48 credits needed to graduate with a regular high school diploma. The alternative diploma the high school principal described would require 36 credits, or eliminate 12 elective credits, for a student to graduate.
To be eligible, a student would need at least two teacher referrals. He or she would also need to be at least one year behind in credits and have to be identified through the CC-E success plan.
As of Monday, at least two juniors met these requirements, Busch said. Of the two candidates, one has seven credits; the other has 16 credits.
"This way, you would keep them in-house versus paying to send them to Spencer," Busch told the board.
"This is a better alternative than having them walk out the door as a dropout," board member Langner summarized.
Board members agreed to place Busch's alternative diploma recommendation on the agenda for another meeting.