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District approves calendar, revisits budget

The Farmington Board of Education heard about some possible changes in the budget at Tuesday’s meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Natalie Thomas said the district is trying to come up with ways to work through the budget process for upcoming years. District officials began a brainstorming process in November of 2010. Out of that process they also started a focus advisory group.

The district is moving into a challenging period where they are compelled to provide improvements to their services in a time of fiscal limitations. The budget and service planning approach is designed to reduce the budget while increasing services to the community and flexibility for the staff.

The district is looking at the service needs and fiscal challenges for the future. It is important the district develop a “long range structuring” strategy. Employees are continuing to work on specific recommendations for feasible budget reductions.

The advisory group will meet again before the March board meeting to discuss some changes and concerns. Dr. Thomas will give an update at the March board of education meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Laura Zammito said student enrollment has increased by 53 students since the 2010 count. The 2011 enrollment exceeds the previous six year average by 176.12 students. The comparison of the 2005 January enrollment and the 2011 January enrollment reflects an increase of 238.45 students, or more than 6.7 percent.

Zammito also gave a report about the school calendars for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. A committee drafted a proposal for two-year calendars. A draft was sent out to all district employees in January and the feedback was favorable. Principals provided names of Parent-Teacher group leaders and other involved parents, and the group of more than 25 parents was invited to attend one of a series of three meetings to hear a presentation on the proposed calendar and provide feedback. The district posted the proposed calendar on the district website for parents to offer input.

As a result of the feedback, the proposed calendar has been revised to provide for a mid-week start as opposed to a Monday start. The school board members approved the school calendars for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.

Mineral Area College President Dr. Steven Kurtz spoke with the school district about supporting a no-tax increase measure that will be on the ballot April 5. The bond issue would extend the life of a tax issue passed in the 1990s set to expire soon. The college will be asking voters to extend the bond issue for 20 years while keeping the tax levy at the same rate.

Should voters approve the issue in April, the college would put the revenue into three areas … C.H. Cozean Library, a renovation on the east side of the Technology Building including a two-story addition,  and the Fredericktown Outreach Center.

“I see the bond issue as an important piece for Farmington,” said Thomas. “This is a perfect time to go for this because of the interest rates,” said Kurtz.

The school board members voted to support the bond issue

Washington-Franklin Principal Angie Winch named Denise Kinkead as Heartland Hero for the month of February. Kinkead was recommended by faculty and staff  because she touches the lives of everyone at Washington-Franklin.

Featured Teacher was Joan Mays. She is a second grade teacher and is retiring after this year.

Anna Murphy was recognized as well. She has worked in almost every building in the district and most recently was secretary for the assistant superintendent at the board building.

The next Farmington School Board meeting is March 15 at 6 p.m.

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