School board approves final appropriations

The finishing touches have been put on the Yuma School District-1 2023-24 budget.

The Yuma-1 Board of Education approved the final appropriations during its regular monthly meeting, Monday night at the District Office. All five board members were present, President John Deering, and Lindsey Galles, Terri Cooper, Heath Roundtree and Tyson Brown.

Business Manager Sherry Dennis Murphy presented the work sheet and the appropriation resolution.

There is more than $8 million in reserves, plus $723,000 will be left in the capital improvement fund when all projects are completed.

Prior to approving the appropriation resolution, the board unanimously approved spending up to $60,000 for a 12-passenger mini-bus from Bonanza Ford in Wray. The board had been told the district has small rural funds for the purchase and it was available now. Roundtree said the district should get it as soon as possible or someone else likely will nab it.

Yuma-1’s total appropriation for 2023-24 is $27.94 million. The General Fund accounts for most of it at $22.05 million. The Special Revenue Fund is set at $455,985, the Bond Redemption Fund at $2.85 million, Capital Projects Fund at $2.2 million with it being in the reserve fund for capital projects, and $410,550 in the Pupil Activity Fund.

As for revenue, property tax is budgeted to generate $3.52 million, and state equalization $6.07 million. The mill levy override will generate $1.194 million. Specific Ownership Tax is set at $457,285. The Beginning Fund Balance is shown at $9.72 million.

A key project that is expected to be done during the current calendar year is the final upgrades at the Yuma High School Auditorium. The board had already approved the seating purchase, and flooring replacement was presented Monday night. The bid, from Masters out of Windsor, was for $46,357. The district still is waiting on paint bids. The seating, flooring and painting is expected to be around $300,000 total. It also includes a stage extension that can be removed when needed.

Superintendent Dianna Chrisman told the board the project could be started in early May. That of course would impact the spring concert, but Chrisman said the concern is if the district holds off the contractors into June, the project could be lost in the shuffle, and then not get completed until well into the next school year. She noted the district is working with two or three companies to coordinate the project. She said if the district agrees to an early May start, it is guaranteed to get complete.

Roundtree said the auditorium is usable now and would be good to have for spring concerts, as it’s use is not in demand as much in the fall. Galles said it is likely it is more important to be ready for the Christmas concert season rather than spring.

The board unanimously approved the flooring replacement.

Chrisman went over school calendar parameters for 2024-25 as the hope is to have it presented to the board at the February meeting. The board was fine the parameters of a four-day school week, 150 student days (which requires a waiver), 170 instructional staff days, having school on Monday of Thanksgiving week, two full weeks for Christmas vacation, and a full week for spring break.

Galles recommended changing the first day for staff to report as the Yuma County Fair Parade has been moved to Monday. She said she also had received feedback about how Christmas break fell this year, with classes not resuming until a week after New Year’s Day because of the way the calendar fell. Some districts went from Wednesday to two Wednesdays later because of how it worked out there year. Chrisman said the calendar will fall more back into a regular routine this next year.

Vocal music teacher

The Consent Agenda included ratifying the late start on January 16, as well as donations of $750 from Don Brown to the YHS Ag Department, and $400 from Yuma Dairy for new winter coats for YMS.

Recommended hirings and separations/resignations were listed by position, but without the names of the individuals involved.

Recommended hirings were for a vocal music teacher for grades 4-12 for the 2024-25 school year, a Knowledge Bowl sponsor at YHS, and a long term substitute business teacher at YHS. Separations and resignations were for an ESL teacher at YHS and an ELL para at YHS.

Superintendent Dianna Chrisman shared that Ashley Jackson has been hired as the vocal music teacher next school year. Principal Brady Nighswonger reported Deserae Holtorf has moved from floating instructor into the business teacher role, and teacher Mr. Rivera is the Knowledge Bowl sponsor.