JASONVILLE ---- At Thursday night's Metropolitan School District of Shakamak Board of School Trustees meeting, Superintendent Mike Mogan updated board members on the school's finances.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, Mogan said the corporation had approximately $297,000 remaining in its General Fund as opposed to $664,000 at the end of 2012.
"The General Fund is what the State of Indiana decides to send us," Mogan said. "We're not over-spending; we're getting a lot less money."
Mogan said they're looking at ways to cut costs.
One way is through health insurance. Beginning Jan. 1, the corporation changed health insurance providers, resulting in a savings of $100,000 to $125,000.
"That's a big plus," Mogan said.
The school is also looking closely at positions that will be open due to retirements.
"We're taking a close look at retirements and seeing if we can replace those positions without hiring additional staff," Mogan said.
The board accepted the retirement of Cynthia Thorlton Thursday evening. Thorlton has taught math at Shakamak for 40 years. Aside from that retirement, Mogan said, he anticipates two to three more.
"Do I wish there was more money in the General Fund? Absolutely. But, there's not," Mogan said.
Board president Jeff Miller pointed out that Shakamak's finances are in better shape than some surrounding schools.
Mogan credited former superintendents for not overspending and overstaffing.
At last month's meeting, the board discussed whether or not the corporation would remain part of Greene Education Services alternative to suspension program. Thursday night, the board voted to withdraw from that program next school year.
The cost of the program is $30,000 each year, and over the past few years, Shakamak has not utilized it much.
"I think we can house that here with existing staff and get more bang for our buck," Mogan said.
It will also save on transportation costs as transportation for the students attending the program is provided by the school.
This winter, snow days have eaten up a great deal of instruction time in schools across the area.
Currently, Shakamak has missed eight days due to weather; however, a waiver has been received by the state for two of those days. Make up dates are set for Feb. 17 and May 27-30.
Elementary principal Jeff Gambill said his teachers have been playing catch up due to missed days and delays.
"We're about three weeks behind in instruction," Gambill said. "They're working bell to catch up."
Gambill noted the window for ISTEP testing has been extended. ISTEP applied skills tests will begin March 10, while the iREAD portion will begin March 17.
In other business, the board:
Accepted Erin Coleman's resignation as an evening custodian.
Hired Grace Miller and Suzanne Fulford as part-time evening custodians.
Approved Jeremy Yeryar, Jimmy John Yeryar and Travis Hayes as volunteer assistant baseball coaches. Board member Jim Yeryar abstained from voting on this motion.
Hired Amanda Mattox as a special services instructional assistant.
Approved a trip to Indianapolis for the Business Professionals of America's state leadership conference.
Approved a field trip to Indianapolis for two students enrolled in the Twin Rivers Medical Careers program.