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ECS board sets tax levy and more

August 21, 2012

The Eldred Central School District Board of Education (ECS BOE) met on August 9 and passed several resolutions intended to enable the district to prepare for future budgetary constraints.

Upon the recommendation of ECS superintendent Robert Dufour, the board approved increasing the Unemployment Reserve by $525,000, the Workers’ Compensation Reserve by $850,000 and the Employee Accrued Liability Reserve by $525,060.

School business administrator William Thornton reported that the tax levy would be set at $8,973,406. “It is lower than the projected $9,409,659 during the budget season and represents a 2.73% decrease over last year’s tax levy,” noted Thornton. “This is because there was an additional $436,000 of fund balance to give back to the tax levy. All of our excess fund balance is going toward the tax levy.”

With the aid of the new bus routing software, one route has been eliminated to help save costs. But Thornton cautioned that it’s a work in progress and that adjustments will be made as needed. Additional discussion about the buses being at capacity took place, with Dufour indicating that the future will hold less flexibility. “It’s going to be more of an issue as we try to reduce costs and put more kids on a bus,” he said.

During his report, Dufour noted that state assessment scores have come out and indicate some potential concerns. “Overall, our ELA [English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects] results went up, but if you look at each individual grade level, there’s been a decline.”

Dufour said he has spoken with principals Scott Krebs and Virginia Keegan, who are meeting with their respective staffs to address concerns. “They will be doing data mining to get down into their test results to find out where our weaknesses are, and to devise a plan to use that data to drive our instruction so that we can get focused in those areas where our kids seem to be the weakest,” said Dufour.

The BOE also heard from Jolene Porter, coordinator of athletics/sports for ECS, who has been working to update the district’s Athletic Handbook.

“When I started teaching here 23 years ago, I was given a handbook,” Porter said. “That was the last time I remember seeing one, and I’ve been a coach all those years. It was definitely time for an update.” The handbook, which contains an expanded section pertaining to concussion management, is available at the school and will eventually be placed on the school website under the athletic tab.