LAKE REGION SCHOOL DISTRICT
Board Budget Workshop
February 10, 2014
There was a Board Budget Workshop on Monday, February 10, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the Great Room at Lake Region Vocational Center. Board members present were: Chairperson Janice Barter, Debra Albert, Stan Buchanan, Beth Chaplin, Karen Eller, Jody Gray, Cindy LeBlanc, Richard Merritt, Erica Pond Green, and Philip Shane.
Administrators present were: Tonya Arnold, Lisa Caron, Carrie Castonguay, Ted Finn, Deborah Howard, Rosie Schacht, Joshua Sturk, Paul True, and Kathleen Beecher, Superintendent of Schools.
Others present were: Barry Johnson, Julie Johnson, and Wayne Rivet
Lake Region High School – Ted Finn
Mr. Finn told Board members that the high school came in with a flat budget per the request of the Finance Committee. He mentioned the following:
- A half-time math position has been eliminated – a teacher transferred to the Vocational Center so the students were redistributed among the current teachers.
- An English Teacher resigned at the beginning of the school year. With these funds, an Educational Technician III was hired for the Alternative Education program for this year only.
- A half-time English position is eliminated.
- A Spanish Teacher is requesting to go to half-time. The other half of the position will not be filled.
- Reductions were made in every cost area including books, supplies, etc.
- The District received Federal funds with the understanding that the District would sustain the majority of the components of the SIG Grant. The Federal government allowed the District to use remaining funds this year.
- Fifteen people make up the faculty council. There will be only 6 stipend positions. Mr. Finn will need to ask 4 people to step up to oversee an Academy and a program area.
- There is no money in the budget to support Playdo, an on-line computer program. Students use this program for credit recovery or courses they cannot fit into their schedule.
- Rosie Schacht mentioned that the program has been around for approximately 20 years and has been used by the Vocational Center and Adult Education. It has been used in Diversified Occupations for math. It has evolved as a support service for students who are struggling academically. Playdo is aligned with the High School, Sacopee Vally, and M.S.A.D. #72 standards so all students can benefit. There are 164 students taking advantage of this program.
- Incorp K-12 is an on-line computer program with a live teacher on the other end. It is up in the air whether this option will be available next year.
Lake Region High School – Ted Finn (continued)
- With SIG funding, an Extended School Year program was held for seniors who did not meet the graduation requirements by graduation. The program allows them to finish their requirements and graduate by July 31 and not be listed as a dropout. Six students took advantage of this program 2 years ago which made the graduation rate go from 71% to 91%. This year there were seven seniors who did not graduate and only one student completed their work by July 31.
- In 2013, the class started with 169 - 170 students and 128 students graduated.
- There were over 100 students who could participate in summer school for a 15-hour or 30-hour program.
- The Extended Year Program was offered during the summer of 2013. One hundred fifty to one hundred sixty students 9-12 were eligible to participate, only 18 participated. The program was held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. until August 1.
There is no money in the budget for this program. The High School is not required to hold a summer school program. However, this could affect the dropout rate.
- Playdo costs - $582/license – the High School usually has 10 licenses.
- The cost of the Extended School Year Program is between $7,000 and $8,000.
- Social Studies credits required was reduced to .6. The order in which students take U.S. History and World Cultures was changed.
- There will be 6 stipends – Academy work will be included with the Academic Leaders – Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Beyond the Core, and Foreign Language. Academy leaders ensure that every Monday from 2:15 – 2:45 the Team talks about plans for Wednesday and Friday; write minutes; each ranking period – make sure that grades are posted; point person to order supplies. Content area heads meet once a month for a content area meeting, develop a budget for their area.
- Cutting the Educational Technician III from the Alternative Program. Numbers support a full-time teacher. Currently there are 2 instructors for 25 students; there could be 50 students in the program. The cost of an additional teacher is $60,000 with benefits. An Educational Technician would cost $29,000.
- Lake Region is the fifth District to have an Alternative Ed Program. All the effective programs have been located off campus. Sacopee Valley and M.S.A.D. #72 both have an Alternative program located in separate buildings. If they didn’t have the program, the students would have dropped out.
Athletics – Paul True
There is an $11,764 increase in the budget.
Mr. True attempted to come in with a flat line budget but the following increases made it not possible.
- The Athletic budget had to absorb a $7,000 increase for the retirement plan from the State.
Athletics – Paul True (continued)
- There has been no Athletic Training Fee increase for several years. The increase is $7.00 per hour for 500 hours = $4,764.00. The rate changed from $28 per hour to $35.00 per hour.
- There was a discussion regarding pay-to-play.
- Schools that have pay-to-play are losing a lot of kids from the conference. Students are playing on Club Teams not on School Teams as there are no eligibility standards, mores games and no structure.
- Superintendent Beecher mentioned that she was looking at the list of students receiving Academic certificates. Students participating in sports or clubs were not failing classes. They have to manage their time better, have to be eligible, and are working hard to get their work done.
- Co-curricular is a very small part of the full budget.
- It was suggested that the admission fee to sports events be increased.
Mr. True responded that there has been a conscious effort to keep amounts low so people will come to the events.
- Mr. True was asked to get accurate numbers for participation of each sport and how much is being charged for pay-to-play sports.
- Boys Tennis is not being funded.
- There is concern about Alpine Skiing due to the number of students participating. More students are interested in snowboarding than ski racing.
Pay to Play Sports
- Volleyball – not budget funded - $125.00
- Ice Hockey - $280.00
- Lacrosse - $175.00
Special Services – Lisa Caron
The following information was distributed:
- From the Maine Commissioner’s Letter – IDEA’s excess cost and MOE Requirements
- Projected Out-of-District Placement Costs for 2014-15
Ms. Caron mentioned the following:
- The Special Services Budget has a 0% increase as requested.
- The State notified the District that it did not meet “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) which “requires that SAUs maintain the amount of local (or alternatively, the amount of State and local) funds expended for the education of children with disabilities. The amount expended establishes the level of expenditures to be maintained from year to year.” This will need to be monitored for next year.
- State Agency Client and Maine Care billing are adding more areas that generate resources. The District can bill for speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy services. This will provide an increase of $50,000 to $60,000.
- If students in grades 4 and 5 are moved to Crooked River, there will need to be an additional teacher added to the budget.
Special Services – Lisa Caron
- The salary of a Coordinator from the Special Services Office was moved into the Local Entitlement grant for next year.
Projected Out-of-District Placement Costs were shared for 2014-15.
- Projected costs equal $550,000. This includes $130,000 for students who are currently State Agency Clients, however, their status could change during the next year.
- There is no new staff or reduction of staff.
- Psychological Services increased by $67,000. This amount was shifted from contracted services to employee salaries.
- A half-time physical therapist was changed to a contracted service this year as it cost less to have a contracted service than a hired employee.
- There are 108 staff members for 350 students K-12; there are two special purpose schools in the District.
- The District has 4 Day Treatment programs:
- Autism Day Treatment Programs are located at Songo Locks School and Stevens Brook Elementary School for K-5 students. There are 7 students at each school.
- The Middle School has a Day Treatment Program for students in grades 6-8; 5 students with 2 incoming students participate in this program.
- The High School has 12 students – some on abbreviated days.
- The District has a van driver and a van monitor. It was necessary to add an additional van driver and van monitor.
- There are 4 psychological service providers. The District pays for 3 and one is paid with Local Entitlement funds. They work with the RTI teams in the buildings and are a wealth of knowledge. With their help, it has been possible for students to not need to be identified for Special Services.
Lake Region Vocational Center, Rosie Schacht
- Lease purchases are paid off.
- The Fire Fighter Program will stay half-time for next year.
- The budget came in pretty close to a 0% increase.
- Each section of the budget was reviewed. Highlights were mentioned as follows:
- Construction Technology – There was a change in staff so there was a reduction.
- Law Enforcement – Equipment money was added for a fingerprint dusting station.
Fire Science – the full amount is included in the budget, some of the funds were transferred from the Drafting and Design program which was eliminated.
Diversified Occupations was expanded to include grade 8 students and 2 post-graduates.
- There is a full-time math teacher, 2.5 Diversified Occupations Teachers; 5 educational technicians (1.5 paid by Special Education) – Additional grade 9 students are included in the program.
- The 8th grade program is self-sustaining. $60,000 is received from Sacopee Valley and M.S.A.D. #72.
Lake Region Vocational Center, Rosie Schacht (continued)
- The Middle School would like to include grade 7 students in the near future to make it a full day program. (To be discussed further.)
- Academic Skills – Playdo Lab is overseen by the Business Education Teachers.
- The Americorp Post was eliminated. An Educational Technician was put into that position. Two educational technicians work with Diversified Occupations students in the Playdo lab working on English or Math.
- The Student Services Coordinator is a full-time position. Vocational Support has improved with community colleges. The Coordinator is working with students to make them career or college ready. Part of the eliminated Drafting and Design funds were used to cover the cost for this position.
- John Mayo teaches Accounting in the morning and electives in the afternoon. He is the Vocational Center’s IT person.
- The Vocational Center is recruiting for EMT for the fall semester
- Adding an Early Childhood Program would be good. Oxford Hills’ program would be used as a model. It is a licensed Pre-K Program. Students are interested in it if it is an option for next year. There is a need for it in the community. The cost would by $62,000 to get the program up and running. Tuition can be charged. Space availability and renovations would be approximately $15,000.
Technology – Joshua Sturk
Joshua Sturk shared that he is the Director of Instructional Technology and the budget is based on instructional technology.
- Technology is spread throughout the schools’ budgets.
- He works closely with Deb Howard on assessments and curriculum; sharing and making recommendations. Testing is found in the Curriculum Budget.
- There is a Technology budget at the end of each school’s section which includes equipment, services, supplies and connectivity. Online Connectivity is a new area. It is the services side and is included as its own line for each school.
- The budget is based on the District’s Technology Plan and the District’s Strategic Plan.
- There was a decrease in the budget due to the buyout last year.
- Site licenses are based on per pupil costs.
- The Site License for Alexandria software (Library Support) – if add another school it would cost $1,200.
- High School supply line has been reduced as they have cut printing costs.
- Rubicon Atlas is used for Curriculum Mapping.
- Scantron is a National assessment testing program. Students will not be tested in science. Testing will be increased to do grades 3 - 11.
- On MEAs, students are tested in science in grades 4 and 8. Students score very high.
Technology – Joshua Sturk
- There are 9.5 staff members in the Technology Department:
- 1 - Student Information Systems – Data Analysis
- 1 – Network Manager – responsible for the internet in every school
- 3.5 Technology Technicians – 1.5 at LRMS – 46 teachers and 1-1 environment; 1 at LRHS – 65 teachers – 1-1 environment, 1 for grades K-5 and Special Education – responsible for 92 teachers to train and support.
- 3 Technology Integrators – (originally there were 4 Integrators) they are available to staff and students on-site for just-in-time training and introducing software; and support. The integrators are included in the school sections of the budget.
Lake Region Middle School, Tonya Arnold
The following information was distributed:
- Supporting Notes for MS 14-15 Budget Meeting with the Board
- Regional Alternative-Education Program (SuccessPrep)
The Middle School’s budget was presented on February 5.
Charter School Tuition – Kathleen Beecher
- There was a potential for a Charter School in Windham but it didn’t go through.
- We had one student at the Fiddlehead School in Gray, but now they are back in the District.
- There has been approval for two virtual on-line Charter Schools. This may be a good option for homeschoolers.
- A Charter School has been approved in Lewiston. The cost will be $60,000.
- The District currently has seven students attending the Baxter Charter School. It is difficult to know what to budget. Students can still access the co-curricular and athletic programs in the District. $40,000 was budgeted.
- The District does not receive any funding for homeschooled students who do not take any classes at the High School. It gets a portion of the cost depending on how many classes are taken for homeschoolers attending the District’s schools. The subsidy is paid the following year.
- The PICAS Study, a review of the State’s funding formula, was done by an independent agency. The results showed that the State formula was not fair to District’s like ours that have a high free and reduced lunch level. The report is out and there has been no discussion on it to date.
The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.