Money matters haunt BOE

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

USD 257 teachers accustomed to receiving all three summertime paychecks in June may have to wait a few days for Nos. 2 and 3, Dr. Craig Neuenswander, superintendent of schools, told board members Monday night.
A state aid payment expected June 30 will be put off until early July because of a $103 million revenue shortfall in May. The state also will delay tax refunds to keep itself solvent, as law mandates, through June 30, the end of the 2009 fiscal year.
Terry Taylor, board clerk, said about 60 of the district’s 115 teachers usually took all three summer checks in June.
“Of more concern is the deficit for the next budget year,” Neuenswander said. “The governor indicated he would deal with this issue by making allotments, rather than calling a special legislative session or delaying action until the Legislature returns in January.”
What adjustment are made to state aid, if any, will depend on the flow of revenue to the state. Already, USD 257 board members have dealt with a more than $300,000 cut in state aid for 2009-10, which included closing of LaHarpe Elementary School.
Meeting as Bowlus Fine Arts and Cultural Center trustees, board members approved a bookkeeping change for the center’s investment account, which will permit checks to be written. Few will be, Susan Raines, Bowlus director, said and those that are will require two signatures, an adequate fiduciary safeguard.
Also, “we’re looking for money everywhere and anywhere,” Raines said, which prompted the Bowlus Commission to recommend that $7,318 in a sinking fund be used to meet maintenance needs. Trustees agreed.
She noted the Bowlus “got through last year with $20,000 in maintenance money, pretty good for a 45-year-old building,” and the sinking fund money would be a good buffer for 2009-10.
Following a 10-minute executive session, board members announced the resignation of Loretta Arnold, high school journalism instructor, and approved the faculty for elementary summer school.
Prior to the business session, board members and others who came for the occasion honored Georgia Masterson, who is stepping down after 20 years as a board member, and Wayne Garrett, who served nine years, two months before his death last year in a traffic accident. Garrett’s wife, Linda, accepted a plaque on his behalf.