Envision 417 - October 4, 2010
The Envision 417 committee met Monday night and spent the first one and one-half hours with Dr. Doug Moeckel working on building teamwork through cooperation, communication and collaboration. The Envision 417 team has put the educational welfare of our students at the forefront and will work toward that endeavor. They are resolved to put trust in one another and work together toward the pursuit of caring for all kids.
Through a fiscal report, USD 417’s budget was shown to be very lean. The budget as it stands cannot support moving forward for making improvement. In essence, the budget, as is, will not provide academic growth, salary advancement, opportunity to investigate educational enhancement, technology advancement, etc.
Most of the budget shortfall relates to declining enrollment as the number of students enrolled determines school funding. In 1995 USD 417 had 1050 students enrolled. We currently have 741 students enrolled in our schools. That decline in student population is over 400 students (or about 25 students per year). At today’s state aid prices, that represents a loss in revenue from the state at a minimum of $100,000 per year or $2,600,000 dollars over that time period (at today’s state aid rate).
USD 417’s enrollment has declined over 100 students in the last five years and funding cuts from the state ($350,000) during last school year have put us in a poor fiscal position. The Envision 417 identified that our school community is moving toward obscurity unless we can reverse the trend of declining enrollment. They also recognize the importance of being “one school community” and that all the communities (nine towns plus rural area) have to work together for the purpose of taking care of our children. They also recognized the need to study and put faith in our communities’ efforts to attract families to this area.
It was discussed that cuts (due to budget) that have been made and time constraints placed on staff members have hampered opportunities. Council Grove High School has cut or reduced elective programs and all USD 417 schools have reduced availability for counseling service, Art and administration. Field trips have been reduced along with activities requiring travel.
It was recognized that reducing the dual services that USD 417 now provides would save money. USD 417 currently offers K-8 education to three different campuses (Dwight has K-4, Alta Vista has 5-8 and CGES/CGMS has K-8). By looking at different options to end dual services in grades K-8, an estimated $250,000 to $500,000 could be saved and utilized elsewhere.
The Envision 417 from its purpose has developed a plan of study. This study will include savings, facility availability, feasibility and educational advantages and disadvantages to our youth. The study will include the following (with allowances to study combinations of budget enhancement).
1. Reorganization and creating district wide attendance centers.
2. Closing one attendance center.
3. Investigate the raising of the mill levy.
4. Methods for generating revenue through sources other than taxes.
5. Healing a fractured school community to create a “one school community” among all the town communities and rural community members.
The next Envision 417 meeting is set for Monday, October 25 at 8:00 pm at Dr. Ford’s home. The meeting will begin with Dr. Steve Gering, who will be focusing on building collaboration within our Envision 417 team. This team is striving toward advancing opportunities for our students.
Committee members: Laura Allen, Dr. Rachael Barr, Sandy Bachura, Dr. Marie Blythe, Kim Bomberger, Miki Bowman, Darrel Bryant, Sandy Cowdin, Cynthia Engle, Ace Finch, Dr. Michael Ford, Donna Frese, Dr. Melissa Herrmen, Amber Jones, Ben Kormanik, Carla Kormanik, Laura Marks, Amy Mayhill, Kelly McDiffett, Cara McNorton, Ralph Mock, Dick Montgomery, Angela Moore, Geneieve Nichols, Judy Parks, Butch Roberts, Patsy Roberts, Cynthia Schrader, Sandra Tyner, Marty White.