Prairie Grove School Board Ap­proves ’18-19 Bud­get

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

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.

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