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With this year’s financial projections looking gloomy, the Cerro Gordo School Board discussed ways to operate more efficiently at its Feb. 21 school board meeting.
“It’s not a rosy picture to end fiscal year 2013.” said Superintendent Brett Robinson, explaining that the district received $235,000 less in revenue this year due to prorated general state aid. Despite cutting expenses by almost $170,000 in the last year the district still expects to be operating in the red by the end of the fiscal year.
“We have reduced expenditures each year over the last five.” said Robinson, suggesting that the board should continue searching for more efficient ways to operate on a revenue source that is trending towards less and less funding each year.
While the district may have to consider several options to make up for a loss of funding including tightening its belt or borrowing money, the board discussed further collaborations with the Bement school district as an option as well.
“I’d like to say how pleased I am with the cooperative efforts we’ve engaged in so far, especially at the high school level.” said Robinson. In the last year Cerro Gordo and Bement schools have partnered both athletically and academically, allowing both districts to cut athletic costs and expand class offerings for students. Robinson addressed board members about the possibility of opening a dialogue with the Bement school district to see what other possibilities further collaboration could provide to students from both schools.
The two schools are currently in cooperative agreements for several high school sports teams including football, girl’s basketball, track and field, baseball, and softball. The districts collaborate academically as well, with instructors from both schools traveling to teach one class each; specifically giving Bement students the chance to take an agricultural science class, while offering Cerro Gordo students the opportunity to take an Industrial Technology course.
A close working partnership has allowed both schools to look for smaller ways to cut costs as well; with the two districts planning to share a bus to transport students to the LOVC band festival in late March.
“I think it’s imperative that we do what we can to cut costs where we are able.” said Robinson, pointing out that next year’s general state aid projections may leave the district with as little as 80 percent of state funding that was promised.
Help from assessment
On a better note however, Robinson reported that due to taxation assessment errors the district will be receiving tax money on the farm ground that Oakley Township has agreed to allow the city of Decatur use as a silt retention basin.
“Somewhere along the line the farmland was undervalued for tax assessment purposes, causing a shortage of what should have been payed to the taxing bodies, including the Cerro Gordo School District.” he explained. The exact amount owed to each recipient has not yet been established; however recent adjustments have lowered the number considerably from original projections. And with 6-12 years worth of tax adjustments in question, board members agreed it may be wise to have an attorney review documentation to ensure the district is receiving the full amount of money it is entitled to.
Students of the month include siblings Jace and Nick Vogel in sixth and eighth grade, Ben Williams in seventh grade, and high school senior Andrea Baker.
The board also accepted a resignation from Jason Navratil as the middle school assistant volleyball coach. In addition the board approved Max Cekander as a volunteer baseball coach, along with authorizing the administration to hire an assistant softball coach.