School preparing for fund shortfall

School preparing for fund shortfall by David Lias If the state doesn't come through with additional education funding, the Vermillion School District hopes to be prepared.

Superintendent Bob Mayer asked the Vermillion School Board Monday how it wished to proceed with planning for additional budget cuts in the district's general fund in the 2003-2004 school year.

The board directed Mayer to begin discussions with teacher groups and prepare a list detailing between $200,000 to $300,000 in cuts that could be made if the state does not provide adequate funding.

"We have spent down our reserves and made over $700,000 in cuts and reallocations while hoping the state would increase funding to schools," he said. "That hasn't happened, so we need to

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make more cuts," said Tom Craig, school board president.

The board also indicated a desire to gather public input prior to making any final budget cuts.

The board took final action approving approximately $450,000 in capital assets expenditures for three projects in the district:
* $240,000 for air-conditioning and heating/ventilation upgrades at Vermillion High School.

* $85,000 for boilerreplacement at Austin School.

* $124,000 for ventilator replacement at Austin School.

Board members Nick Merrigan and Michael Granaas, who are members of the board's budget committee, reported they had consulted with school district staff and reviewed the capital assets budget.

They determined that these projects could be completed without raising the capital assets tax levy.

"I've been very impressed with the way in which past school boards have maintained our schools," Craig said. "This action continues the tradition assuring that our schools will be physically sound for years to come."

In other action Monday, the school board approved a new policy which will allow parents to challenge library/media center materials they feel are inappropriate.

"The Vermillion SchoolDistrict hasn't experienced any problems with inappropriate materials in the past, but it is good to have a policy in place to deal with any problems that might come up," Craig said.

"Our library staff did a tremendous job developing this policy," Mayer said.

The board also held the first reading on a policy covering classroom materials. This policy is based on the library/media center policy and developed at the board's request.

The policy is expected to receive final approval at the board's Jan. 13, 2003 meeting.

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