A new school bus topped the list of purchases totaling $408,451.41 approved by the Macon R-I Board of Education at their June regular meeting on Thursday evening. The new 2014 bus will be purchased from Midwest Transit Equipment for $81,947. The amount includes a $2,500 allowed trade-in amount for a 1996 International bus. The new bus will replace bus #18, one of the oldest in the district's fleet that was used as a spare. The new purchase will be placed in full-time use to allow one of the older buses to now be used as a spare.
As was reported by Superintendent Dr. Chuck Stockton at the May meeting, the district will finish the year with an anticipated surplus of approximately $450,000 in the final 2012-13 budget. The district has traditionally used this money for year-end purchases. In addition to the bus purchase Director of Operations Marshall Gingrich presented a list of other suggested purchases some of which included 120 laptop computers for mobile computer labs, computer carts, smart boards, computer fire wall, books, equipment, software, blinds for the elementary school, copier, and other equipment and supplies. Any additional surplus amount will be placed in reserve to have in anticipation of any reduced revenues next year.
Dr. Stockton presented each board member with a copy of the survey prepared by Opinion Research Specialists, LLC of Springfield. The telephone survey is a part of the Community Insight Process and Strategic Plan Development to assess the future needs and direction of the district. Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey from May 29 to June 5 from 290 randomly selected registered voters residing within the Macon R-I School District. The median age of those surveyed was 65-years-old, with the actual ages from 18 to 97 years old. Of those surveyed 86 percent did not have a child currently attending Macon public schools. The survey showed that 76 percent of those questioned gave the district a grade "B" or above. A high priority of building a safe room facility for extreme weather emergencies was given by 62 percent of those surveyed. When it came to spending tax dollars wisely 37 percent of the group gave the district a grade of "C" or below.
Dr. Stockton told the board that the numbers for the year-end expenditures are still changing. The board is required by the state to have the preliminary budget for 2013-14 in place by July 1. "The preliminary budget is always a best guess of what the final operating budget will be," he said. "I would like to request that the board use the final 2012-13 budget figures as the preliminary 2013-14 budget." Approval of the final operating budget will come later, in September or October, when more information is available for expected revenues.
Gingrich updated the board on the progress of the renovations in the elementary school. All the asbestos tile has been removed. A structure has been constructed around the outdoor cooler near the elementary cafeteria. Elementary kitchen remodeling was to begin today. The storage and remodeling in the elementary gym is 80 percent completed. In the high school the art room and the weight room have switched places. The move will create a better learning environment for the art students by having the art room further away from the noise from the gym.
Page 2 of 2 - Approval was given for the required local plan for compliance which regulates the district in the placing and serving of students with disabilities. The plan was prepared by Special Education Coordinator Joyce Wilson.
In executive session the board approved the resignation of Amanda Huntsman as middle school special education teacher. Bethany Brodersen was approved for employment as elementary teacher. The employment of bus driver John Selby as bus driver effective June 29.
It was also reported that the resignation of Gayle was accepted during executive session at the May 30 meeting. King is retiring from the elementary school.
The board will meet again on Thursday, June 27, at 6 p.m. in the central conference room. The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for July 25.