NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Area Schools Board of Education on Monday, June 10, approved a projected 2019-2020 budget prepared by retiring Business Manager Dan Coffman with assistance from his successor, Pano Arvanitis.
Revenues for the 2019-2020 fiscal year are projected at $15,847,845 with expenditures foreseen at $16,457,292, leaving an anticipated fund balance of $3,420,003 as of June 30, 2020.
Other projected 2019-2020 budgets presented and OK’d on June 10 included: NB Bison Educational Trust Fund — total revenues, incoming transfers and other transactions of $1,165,000, scholarship payments of $850,000, and a fund balance of $5,003,774; a Food Service Budget with total revenues, incoming transfers and other transactions of $644,360 and expenditures of $645,577.
There were plenty of questions regarding new GASB 84 state regulations covering funds related to student activities such as band boosters and Local Revenue Sharing Board money used for fund-raising. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Leslie said mixed signals and no clear answers have been provided so far from the state level.
The projected 2019-2020 budget includes a “Special Revenue” section with projected revenues and expenditures of $153,564 to account for GASB 84 requirements.
The board also approved amended 2018-2019 budget numbers reflecting total revenues of $16,162,466; expenditures of $16,073,137; and an ending fund balance of $5,008,774; a Food Service Budget with total revenues, incoming transfers and other transactions of $644,360 and expenditures of $645,577.
Leslie said hiring Arvanitis (the board’s former treasurer) in time to be able to work with Coffman until he retires in September should make for a “smooth transition.”
Arvanitis said Coffman has “really taken the time to show me a lot of how things are done … It’s week six and it’s been a really good experience.”
The Board of Education also heard reports on the district’s Transportation department from Director of Transportation and Technology Ed Lijewksi and got an overview of Technology in the district from Assistant Technology Director Jacob Stella and Lijewksi.
Lijewski said the district has 14 bus drivers with CDL licenses (five who handle the a.m. and p.m. routes, five substitutes, and four emergency drivers including himself). Their experience ranges from 40 years to one month. The 10 main drivers have racked up 66,720 miles this year.
He said some of the many requirements for bus drivers include fingerprinting, drug testing, passing a DOT physical, and taking a series of tests.
Lijewski said the district has 10 buses (one of which will likely need to be replaced next year) and seven vans (which have four drivers who have “enormous” responsibilities) with more that 50,000 miles driven for special education purposes.
He said the new “caution stopping/stop do not pass” signs installed on buses last year have been effective, but some drivers just can’t seem to wait for the bus (all of which are equipped with cameras) to safely unload students.
“We probably have 25-30 passes every year that we catch,” Lijewski said. “I don’t know why, I don’t know what more we can do. Every stop we do is a red-light stop.”
He said local police follow their routes, adding that the citation for passing a stopped school bus can be 4 points and a $500 fine.
Stella gave an overview of the district’s vast array of technology equipment (nearly 1,000 total devices) which includes (at the Elementary School) 110 student iPads, 162 Chromebooks for the second through sixth grades, 24 Chrome desktops in the computer lab; 32 teacher MacBooks; (Middle/High School) 177 MacBook Airs in the high school, 150 Chromebooks in the middle school, 48 teacher MacBooks, 24 iPads, 24 Kindles, 42 Windows desktops, and 24 Windows laptops. Both campuses are equipped with ActivPanels and ActivWalls along with numerous TVs, CD players and other audio-visual equipment, servers, security camera systems, wireless access points in every classroom and in common areas, digital signs in front, and much more.
Stella said 146 MacBook Airs from 2011 will be replaced next year (making them easier to monitor with the Apple School Manager program), while 50 Chromebooks are nearing their end of life. Upgrades to communication systems at both school also are planned and bandwidth for Internet connections was doubled ahead of the current school year.
In other June 10 actions, the Board of Education:
• Accepted with regret the resignations of Special Education/McKinney-Vento Liaison Patricia Daniel (effective June 11) and Middle School Secretary Barbara Coffman (effective June 30).
Lelsie and several board members said both Daniel and Coffman will be greatly missed. It was reported that there are nine applicants for the Special Education/McKinney-Vento Liaison position and 17 for the Middle School Secretary job.
• Approved employing Kirsten Fenton as girls high school cross country coach.