MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF SCHOOL BOARD
OF BLOOMFIELD SCHOOL DISTRICT
February 27, 2003
The Board of School Trustees of the Bloomfield School District, of Greene County, Indiana, met in regular session on February 27, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. in the high school cafeteria in Bloomfield School District, 501 West Spring Street, Bloomfield, Indiana. The following school board members were present: Peggi Blakley, Randall Burcham, Nancy Canty, Steve Dowden, Keith Hanauer, Marvin Helms, and Richard Richeson. President Helms called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 p.m. The following order of business was transacted with the President presiding:
1. Brief Comments and Information from Public on Agenda Items. President Helms told those present that thirty minutes would be set aside for comments on agenda items. Teachers, patrons, and students shared their feelings concerning Agenda Item #7 (A), Reduction in Number of Teaching Positions – Certified Nonpermanent Staff, and #7 (B), Reduction in Clerical and Teaching Assistant Positions – Support Staff. Those speaking included Ken Greves, Mandy McIntosh, Karlena Purcell, Kris Perry, Andy Ganster, Jack Huffman, Robert Just, Andrea Hagemeier, Becky Brown, Steve Uebel, Peggy Peek, Peg Harrah, Liz Luse, and Debbie Huffman.
2. Approval of Minutes. The Board had been provided with minutes of the special school board meeting and regular school board meeting both held on January 23, 2003, which had been prepared by corporation recording secretary Kelli Vandeventer. Nancy Canty made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Peggi Blakley seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a 7-0 vote.
3. Treasurer’s Report. The Board had been provided with the Treasurer’s Report, prepared by corporation treasurer Sue Pritts, consisting of the Appropriation Report and Claims Listing Report. Upon motion duly made by Steve Dowden and seconded by Randall Burcham, the Board by a 7-0 vote approved the Treasurer’s Report.
4. Final Report Given on Refunding Bonds. Superintendent Hasler gave the Board a report on the possibility of refinancing the bonds of the Bloomfield School District School Building Corporation. (See attached) The report showed there would be no savings at this time. Mr. Hasler said that interest rates would continue to be monitored and that he would update the Board accordingly.
5. Board Approves Contract With Greene County Youth Alternatives. Superintendent Hasler explained that the Bloomfield School District had a contract with Greene County Youth Alternatives (GCYA) for a two-year period, which ended June 30, 2002. At that time GCYA was uncertain of its future. Now the GCYA has reorganized with Open Arms Christian Ministries (OACM). GCYA operates as a contracted service provider to Bloomfield School District. Under this agreement, the school would agree to purchase two “slots’ for students under 16 years old. Students 16 and over would attend and GCYA would be reimbursed by our adult education funds from the state or payment from the students’ family. Bloomfield School District currently does not have a qualified program for the adult education funds. He said that the term of this contract would be from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003 to coincide with the adult education funding schedule. Mr. Hasler asked the Board to approve the contract with Greene County Youth Alternatives. (See attached) Keith Hanauer made a motion to approve the contract per Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. Steve Dowden seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote.
6. Board Votes to File Not-for-Profit Form. Superintendent Hasler told the Board that new filing requirements for Not-for-Profit organizations became effective January 1, 2003 that public schools had previously been exempt from. He asked the Board to approve the filing of Form NFP-20A as now required by the Indiana Department of Revenue. (See attached) Randall Burcham made a motion to authorize the administration to file Form NFP-20A per Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. Nancy Canty seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote.
7. Boiler Inspections Proposal Information Given. Mr. Hasler explained that Graves Plumbing Company, Inc. had submitted a proposal to perform periodic monthly and annual inspections of the school district’s boilers. (See attached) He explained that this was not a service that had been done in the past. Mr. Hasler said that while he agrees with the concept of this proposal, he did not believe the district should commit the necessary funds at this time. The superintendent brought this item to the Board for their information only. No Board action was required.
8. Reduction in Number of Nonpermanent Teaching Positions Approved. It was recommended that the Bloomfield School District full-time regular teaching contracts of Janis Shaw and James Brinson, the six-sevenths (6/7) time contract of Andrea Hagemeier, and the one-half (1/2) time contract of Eric Lyons be canceled effective at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. Randall Burcham made a motion to approve the recommendation as requested. Keith Hanauer seconded the motion. During discussion time board member Steve Dowden asked if the Board could vote on each teaching position individually. The superintendent asked if any board member was opposed to voting individually. There was no opposition voiced. Board member Nancy Canty stated that she intended to vote against the RIF’s. Her reasons were that she felt that the Board and staff are at school for the children, ISTEP scores are up, and that there is a high number of students who further their education after graduating from Bloomfield Schools. Mrs. Canty said the employees work with students who have learning problems and that for some students school is the best thing that happens to them all day and she does not want those students to lose those learning opportunities, a mentor, or a role model. She said that if the Board starts eliminating teaching positions they start impacting the students and she will not do that. Mrs. Canty said she was going to vote no, but that she was also challenging all involved to work together and find other ways to save money. Board member Keith Hanauer said that none of the Board wanted to have to RIF anyone. He said that unfortunately the state law requires that schools run in the “black”. He reiterated that the kids come first and he vowed to keep working to find ways to save money and hopefully save some teachers jobs. Peggi Blakley shared that in her opinion all parties need to get together. Ms. Blakley stated that she also planned to vote against the RIF’s, but that she would only vote “no” once and if she saw nothing positive happening she would have to assume that the RIF’s are necessary to save money. Member Randall Burcham told those in attendance that the Board has no choice due to the time frame set by state law and the bargaining agreement. He said that if the Board does not approve Mr. Hasler’s recommendation the financial year for 2003 would most likely end in the “red”, which is against the law. Steve Dowden agreed that if the RIF’s are not done at this time the Board would be putting the school district at risk of deficit financing next year, which is illegal by the state. Mr. Dowden told those present that there is absolutely no doubt that the school district is in serious financial trouble right now. He continued that 90% of the general fund budget goes to salaries and benefits, which leaves 10% for utilities, maintenance, and programs. He said obviously the $300,000 that has to be cut from the budget will mostly have to be taken out of the general fund. He reminded the Board and those in attendance that the superintendent had already cut 30% from all general fund discretionary accounts, which shows that cuts in other areas are being made. Mr. Dowden said a reduction in employees is not an easy thing for the Board to do. He said the realities are that state funding is down, the KPT property tax loss, and the health insurance benefit. He stated that if the health insurance problem is not fixed it will continue every year. Mr. Dowden also told the crowd that the Board had made an offer on October 16, 2002, to the teachers’ bargaining team to meet with them without any outside spokespeople present, just board members and teachers, and the board never received a response from the teachers’ bargaining team. President Helms said that due to the untimely distribution from the state, the school had to borrow money to operate the rest of the year. He said that alone will cost the school one teaching position. This too was no fault of the Board. Superintendent Hasler said that education cuts in the biennium budget is one of the big problems the school is struggling with right now. He shared that the school had been running around 5% annual increases. For the last biennium that was cut to around 2% and our cash balance dropped from $818,000 to $497,000. He said that the Governor’s proposal was for a straight-line budget. The house proposal is for a 2% increase with a 1.75% guarantee. Over $320,000 in General Fund cash balances has been dropped with that kind of funding, so even with that the school’s finances will be in trouble. He provided the public with names of state senators and representatives that are in the Bloomfield School District and those that serve on both the education committee and the finance committee. He encouraged those concerned to contact those legislators. Concerning increasing costs of employee benefits, Mr. Hasler explained that last year the teachers’ employee group did not agree to changing the health insurance benefit and their health insurance went up 25%. The administrators and support staff did accept a reduction in benefits that resulted in less than a 3% increase in health insurance. Referring to the KPT property tax loss the superintendent said that the district continues to be “hit” with an approximately $70,000 loss in local property tax revenue. The school district is not allowed to increase taxes to offset this loss. The General Fund portion of this loss is approximately $31,000 per year. He said that every fund had been borrowed from that the law allows. He explained that when a school runs short in a fund the only fund that can be used to make up the shortage is the General Fund, and unfortunately the General Fund is the problem being dealt with presently. Mr. Hasler said that state statute and the collective bargaining agreement dictates which teaching positions are reduced. Mr. Hasler told the crowd that in the past the district earned interest money in the cash balance, but now are forced to pay interest on money borrowed for cash flow due to local and state tax delays. He then reiterated information on teacher utilization, which is the reason for the Reduction in Force. President Helms told the Board it was time to vote on Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. The recommendation was to cancel the Bloomfield School District full-time regular teaching contracts of Janis Shaw and James Brinson, the six-sevenths (6/7) time contract of Andrea Hagemeier, and the one-half (1/2) time contract of Eric Lyons effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year. The full-time regular teaching contract of Janis Shaw was canceled effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year by a 5-2 vote. Peggi Blakley and Nancy Canty cast the nay votes. (See attached) The full-time regular teaching contract of James Brinson was canceled effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year by a vote of 5-2. The nay votes were cast by Peggi Blakley and Nancy Canty. (See attached) The Board voted 5-2 in favor of canceling the six-sevenths time contract of Andrea Hagemeier, effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year. Peggy Blakley and Nancy Canty voted against the motion. (See attached) Next, the Board canceled the half-time contract of Eric Lyons by a 7-0 vote, effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year. (See attached)
9. Reductions in Clerical and Teaching Assistant Positions Approved. It was recommended that the full-time clerical position of Becky Neeley and the one-half time clerical position of Cindy Weatherholt be eliminated. It was further recommended that the full-time teaching assistant positions of Shanna Wilson, Doris Stout, and Stacy Helms as well as the part-time position of Cindy Riggins be eliminated. The teaching assistant position of Kathy Uebel will be reduced from full-time to one-half time. All of these reductions to become effective the end of the 2002-2003 school year. Becky Neeley will be offered a full-time teaching assistant position for the 2003-2004 school year due to a prior seniority understanding. Steve Dowden made a motion to approve Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. Randall Burcham seconded the motion, which passed by a 6-1 vote. Peggi Blakley cast the nay vote.
10. Board Accepts Affiliation Agreements with Area Universities. It was recommended that the Board accept affiliation agreements and authorize the administration to sign them. The agreements are between Bloomfield School District and each of the following universities: Ball State University, Indiana University, and Purdue University. (See attached) This allows Bloomfield Schools to participate in teacher training opportunities to properly prepare students for a vocation in the field of education. It is imperative that colleges and universities graduate the best candidates possible for employment in education. Nancy Canty made a motion to approve the recommendation. Keith Hanauer seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote.
11. Collaborative Agreement with Wabash Valley Human Services Accepted. The Superintendent asked the Board to accept the collaborative agreement with Wabash Valley Human Services and authorize the administration to sign the same. (See attached) This agreement primarily allows collaboration between our primary teaching staff and the Head Start program. After proper releases are obtained, the elementary school can provide tracking and educational information regarding the success of Head Start graduates. Keith Hanauer made a motion to approve Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. Nancy Canty seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote.
12. Board Approves Filing 2003 Summer School Reports. Superintendent Hasler asked the Board to approve filing the 2003 Summer School Estimated Instructional Costs Report and List of Courses. He explained that the report is due to the Indiana Department of Education by April 1, 2003. The Department of Education will notify school corporations by May 15, 2003 of the expected level of state reimbursement based on the estimated expenditures submitted. Category I classes will be reimbursed at 100%. Category 2 will be reimbursed at 75% (depending on funding – schools will be notified by May 15th if the funding is less than 75%). Category 3 will be reimbursed with any remaining funds. Randall Burcham made a motion to approve Mr. Hasler’s recommendation. Richard Richeson seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote. Mr. Hasler said the filing of these reports does not necessarily mean that summer school will be held. It only assures that if the funding is provided we can hold summer school.
13. Change in 2002-2003 School Calendar Approved. Due to the number of snow days and snow delays the administration and teachers requested that the board approve changing the 2002-2003 calendar to end the third grading period on March 14, 2003 and send the third period report cards home on March 20, 2003. Superintendent Hasler recommended approval. Randall Burcham made a motion to accept the recommendation. Peggi Blakley seconded the motion, which passed by a 7-0 vote.
14. Collective Bargaining Update. Superintendent Hasler read a prepared Collective Bargaining Update to the Board and public. (See attached)
15. Comments and Information from the Public. Members of the audience made comments to the Board concerning the Reduction in Force action. Some present made comments and asked questions about the current health insurance benefits for teachers. Board member Randall Burcham announced that due to board policy this time in the meeting is set aside for the Board to receive information only. Superintendent Hasler told those present that anyone that has questions are more than welcome to make an appointment to meet in his office where he will have documents readily available and be able to answer their questions. Among those who spoke were Steve Uebel, Susan Riggs, Mandy McIntosh, Karlena Purcell, Peggy Peek, Andy Ganster, Jack Huffman, Ray Peek, Mary Katchmeyer, Liz Luse, Claudia Crane, Sherry Quakenbush, Mick Riddle, and Laci Bowersock.
16. Adjournment. There being no further business, Peggi Blakley made a motion to adjourn. Nancy Canty seconded the motion. The meeting was then adjourned by a 7-0 vote.