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School District Gears Up for Start of School

Proposed Tentative Budget Presented to Board
By Janet Bradley
With the opening of the 2018-2019 school year just a few weeks away, the School Board listened to a proposed budget for the school year at the July 17 meeting. They were also updated on current projects that are preparing the campuses for the first day of classes on August 13.
David Dose, Director of Finance, presented a proposed tentative budget to the Board for review and questioning. Mr. Dose stated, “The state says we received an increase of $543,000.00 for 2018-2019, but out of those funds, we will be paying part of four School Resource Officers, a School Safety Specialist, a Truancy Coordinator, crossing guards, and a Mental Health Counselor for the District. Some of these positions fall under the new Safe Schools law and are required by the state. After these salaries are budgeted, we have about $69,000 left from our increase”. He also stated the budget was built with twenty fewer students since there was an over projection of students last year.
The proposed tentative budget saw reduced expenditures in many areas. The largest cut was in salaries for a total of $503,073.99. Districts are required to report to the state if their fund balance drops below 3%. At this time, the district’s financial condition ratio is above this percent and in compliance with this requirement.
David Spencer, Director of Operations, appeared before the Board to update current projects. He informed the Board the front canopy at Trenton Elementary School was in the process of being repaired. The demolition has been completed, and the framing is in progress this week. Next week the siding and roofing should be completed. The canopy was destroyed by a U-Haul truck from an outside group using the campus. The cost to reconstruct the canopy will be between $40,000 and $50,000. Insurance will cover a little over $40,000 of this cost.
Spencer also reported on the status of cleaning the floors, roof repair, power washing, and tree removal at the schools in order to make the campuses clean for the arrival of staff and students. He also reported two new buses have been ordered, and he is awaiting their arrival. Additional new buses are included in the 2018-2019 district budget.
The security of the campuses is also part of the plan to prepare for the return of students. Mr. Spencer, along with principals and the School Safety Specialist, have scrutinized the campuses and are eliminating some entrances and prioritizing the implementation of fencing and more secure gates in all areas of the schools.
Superintendent Rankin reported the district is proceeding with the Guardian Program. There are approximately twelve school personnel who have applied to be part of the program which allows trained school personnel to be armed on campus.
The schools are preparing for students and parents with a scheduled Open House at each school. Open House for Bell Elementary will be August 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for KG-Grade 5. Bell Middle/High School Open House will be held August 9 with Grades 6-8 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Grades 9-12 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Open House for Trenton Middle/High School will be held on August 9th with Grade 6 meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium, and Grades 7 and 8 meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Cafeteria. Grades 9-12 will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Open House for Trenton Elementary will be on August 9 for grades 3-5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Grades K-2 will have Open House on August 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
A supply list for each school and grade, along with Open House information, is located on the Gilchrist County School District web page at http://gilchristfl.apptegy.us/

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