Pembine School Budget, Hold Annual Meeting
At a special meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, Beecher/Dunbar/Pembine School Board is expected to approve a property tax levy of $3,296,334 to support the school district's General Fund budget for 2017-2018. This compares to a levy of $3,393,159 last year.
The budget and tentative tax levy for 2017-2018 were approved at the district's annual meeting that followed the 6 p.m. budget hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the school library in Pembine.
District Administrator, Chris Metras called the meeting to order and Board members present for the budget hearing were Vicki Fick, Ryan Berger and Brian Bousley. Board members Tina Duenweg and Rose Marceley were absent.
Scott Sternhagen, the district's auditor from the accounting firm of Schenck, SC, presented information regarding the District's Audit and finances. He told the Board that the final audit report has just been made available. He then went over the Management Communications and the Annual Financial Report of the 2016-2017 school year dated June 30, 2017.
Susan Johnson, District Business Manager, explained the 2017-18 Budget, including an explanation of funds, revenues and expenditures. She also answered questions from the Board concerning the budget.
The budget hearing adjourned at 6:41 p.m., after which the District's Annual Meeting was called to oder by Metras, who explained the process and order of business for the Budget Hearing and Annual Meeting to the audience. In addition to board members there were five members of the public present for the meeting which is the sole regular meeting of the year where the public makes motions and votes on them.
Berger nominated Fick to chair the meeting, and was seconded by Bousley. There were no other nominations, so Fick was elected as meeting chairperson.
On motion by Bousley and unanimously approved, school board member salaries for 2017-2018 school term remain the same as they were last year.
A motion by Amy Newingham, also unanimously approved, the school board was authorized to pay for actual and necessary expenses of school board members traveling outside of the school district in performance of duties and reimbursement of a school board member for actual loss of earnings when duties require them to be absent from their regular employment. The total amount paid in a year can be no more than the maximum amount budgeted for such expenses.
Authorization for a State Trust Fund Loan was included on the meeting agenda, but no loan is needed this year so there was no action.
Motion for the $3,296,334 General Fund levy for the 2017-2018 school year was made by Berger, seconded by Bousley and unanimously approved.
In accord with usual practice, a temporary borrowing limit of $750,000 was again placed on the school board for the 2017-18 school year.
Also unanimously approved was a resolution that the 2017-18 school term include at least 437 hours of direct pupil instruction in kindergarten, at least 1,050 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 1-6 and at least 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 7-12 as defined in Wisconsin State Statutes.
Also as a routine action, the board was authorized to take any legal action necessary for prosecution and defense of any action or proceedings in which the school district is interested, provide textbooks under conditions established as policy, and operate a Food Service program.
The Peshtigo Times was again selected as the district's official newspaper and WJNR was again selected as the official radio station.
The 2018 Annual Meeting date and time will be scheduled by the school board.
During an agenda provision for other business to come before the annual meeting, Dave Johnson commented that it looks to him that the monies from the referendum are being banked, saved, for future use. He thinks the district has to get a Tech Ed program going, and would like to see the money be used to speed up getting a Tech Ed program up and running instead of banking it.
Metras explained what the district is already doing regarding development and improvement of the Tech Ed program and what is planned in the future.
Mike Newingham also felt the referendum money is being saved, and asked what it is being saved for, and what the plan is for after the current referendum is done. Metras answered that the money is being used to build up the fund balance to eliminate the need for short term loans and to do more capital projects.
The Auditor also explained the revenue flow for the District and why the fund balance needed to be increased.
It was also stated that grants are used whenever possible to help pay for capital projects. Metras also said that the district will probably continue to have referendums as they are not getting enough funding from the state.
Mike Newingham stated that he is concerned if the town can keep supporting the added expenses for the school. He declared that everyone needs to work together to improve the town then maybe more people will move into the district.
Metras suggested having a joint meeting between the towns and the school board to look at ways to work together.
Dave Johnson expressed concern about the cost of administration, which he estimated has almost doubled in the last few years. He asked the Board to review those expenses.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
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