Prairie Grove School Board Approves ’18-19 Budget
PRAIRIE GROVE — Prairie Grove School Board last week approved a $16.8 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.
The budget includes $330,000 set aside for employee raises but the actual raises will be recommended at the October board meeting. Reba Holmes, interim superintendent of schools, said the intention is to give all employees a raise that would be retroactive to July 1.
The budget summary shows the school projects to receive $16.8 million in revenue with $9.4 million from state foundation funds, $6.2 million from property taxes, more than $963,577 from state designated funding and about $300,000 from other sources.
Expenses for the year will be $7.9 million for certified salaries (including the raises), $3.7 million for instructional and pupil support, $2.3 million for operations and maintenance, about $750,000 for transportation and $1.4 million for debt payments.
The school had a $1.5 million balance on July 1 and projects to end the school year on June 30, 2019, with that same $1.5 million balance.
The Sept. 17 meeting opened with the school district’s annual
Report to the Public.
A handout states that for 2017-18, Prairie Grove schools spent $17 million and received $16.6 million in revenue. They started the year with $2 million as a balance and ended the year on June 30 with a balance of $1.5 million. (It was decided last year that the school did not need to keep a $2 million balance.)
According to the annual report, student enrollment for the district has increased from 1,755 students in 201617 to 1,990 students. The district’s free and reduced lunch ratio is 42.97 percent.
Goals for the year are to improve student reading skills for all grades, have increased opportunities for teachers to collaborate, improve student ACT College Readiness scores, improve the response to intervention strategies for struggling students and introduce integrated science instruction using STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) strategies.
For 2017-18, schools received the following grades from the 2017 School Performance reports: C, elementary school; B, middle school; B, high school.The grades are based in part on scores from the ACT Aspire tests.
In other action, school board members approved two low bids for computer/online related contracts. The district is using federal money from a program called eRate Funding to pay for most of the costs.
The board awarded a contract for $8,150 to Network Craze to purchase switch networking components. The school’s portion of this is $2,445. A five-year contract was awarded to K12itc for $33,722 for a K-12 network filter/firewall project. The school’s portion is $18,111.
Holmes said the district will request proposals for commercial real estate and brokerage firms to sell the former Arvest Building at the corner of Buchanan and Mock Street.
The school purchased the Arvest Bank building for $600,000 in 2017 to use as a new administration building. However, board members changed their mind about moving administration to downtown Prairie Grove and in August, voted to try to sell the building.
The school also will send out a request for qualifications for architectural and engineering services to construct a new school building. Prairie Grove has requested state partnership funds to help pay for construction but will not receive an answer from the state until May 2019.