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Bismarck will talk budget at meeting

BISMARCK – Bismarck Superintendent Dr. Damon Gamble said that it appears that the Bismarck School District is probably going to finish the year with a balanced budget. Gamble will share the same news with the Bismarck School Board during the monthly meeting today at 7 p.m.

“It looks like the governor is going to release some more funds,” Gamble said. “But we won’t know until he does. We are operating at a 10 to 15 percent shortfall of state aide which amounts to about $400,000 less than what we did last year.”

In other matters the board is expected to review the guidance counseling program. Gamble said that this will be just an overview of the services that are offered in the Bismarck School District.

The board is expected to discuss the sick leave buy back program and will look at revising the policy to put in a cut-off date on turning them in.

Gamble said that the board will discuss a recommendation regarding payment of Career Ladder stipends to qualified staff. The funding is based on a pro-ratio factor to state aide. The board will discuss using local funds to pick up the missing 10 percent.

The proposed calendar for 2004-05 is slated to be looked at by the board. The last day of school is expected to be moved from May 14 to May 19 with graduation remaining on May 14.

The board will discuss the application for the eMINTS grant for 2004-05.

“This is a grant for technology for classrooms,” said Gamble. “We are utilizing the technology in third and fourth grade right now and we are looking at expanding it to fifth grade.

The district recently learned it was granted a 21st Century Grant. The grant is used for after school and community programs and is worth about $140,000 for the remainder of the year. Over a five-year period the grant is worth $950,000.

In addition to extending the school year to May 19, school will be in session on March 19 and on April 8 to make up for snow days.

The board is expected to go into closed session to evaluate building administrators.

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