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Bismarck school board OKs budget

The Bismarck Board of Education approved the 2019 budget at its last meeting.

Offering details regarding several aspects of the board, Superintendent Jason King said, “We have a lease purchase payment we’ve been making for five years now and that payment is $60,000 per year. That payment comes off the books in 2019, which is going to help us out a lot.

“Also we have an independent $19,000 for a DNR loan. That was the last mining project through the DNR. That payment will also end in 2019, so there’s some upcoming things that are going to help us out.”

According to King, the budget still focuses on curriculum instruction, with $8,000 for library books and periodicals and about $10,000 in new textbooks.

“That is going to drop in coming years with the one-on-one technology we’re going to with the new Chromebooks. The face of textbooks will be changing with that new technology when it comes through.

“I do my best and will continue to do my best to provide the amount that the librarians request for books. Technology is fantastic but books aren’t going away either and we want to make sure that our libraries are well stocked with what the kids need.”

The budget includes $70,000 for technology including the purchase of various software and other technology equipment. There is also $65,000 set aside for the purchase of Chromebooks.

“You now see the kids running around the halls with Chromebooks and using them in their classes,” King said. “This year we went with students in grades 8-12. Each one of them was issued a Chromebook. The third phase of the one-on-one will be next year when we plan to go grades 3-7 with the Chromebooks.

“There’s $25,000 for payment of the ACT and various college courses for kids. Bismarck continues to have one of the strongest pilot programs in the area. And when I say pilot program, that means if kids attain a certain score on an ACT test, if they meet certain benchmarks with advanced or proficient on them, we are able to pay a significant part of their college classes and tuition through MAC. It is right up there with the best in our area if not the best in the area. Our kids have greatly benefited from that.”

King noted that the district will be saving some on the $55,000 budgeted for students attending UniTec because the actual amount needed will be less. He also noted that staff training and development will be a high priority for the coming year with more than $55,000 set aside for that.

“This year we’re going to be able to provide a Christmas stipend to our staff of $450 per person,” King said. “The certificated staff earned this item on Sept. 5 at an after school training session. The classified staff is a little bit different. We do some specific, select things for them to be able to earn this stipend. They’ll be doing that throughout the year and we will pay that stipend in November.”

According to King, the budget has a fund transfer of 3 percent to service the school district’s debt.

“As always, this budget is only going to be as good as the numbers we can get from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE),” he said.

Bismarck Superintendent Jason King addresses members of the Board of Education at a previous meeting

Bismarck Superintendent Jason King addresses members of the Board of Education at a previous meeting

The Bismarck Board of Education prepares to take a vote on the 2019 school district's budget at its September meeting. It ended up being passed unanimously.

The Bismarck Board of Education prepares to take a vote on the 2019 school district’s budget at its September meeting. It ended up being passed unanimously.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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