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School district still in black with new budget

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By Dave Bell

The Vandalia Community Unit School District Board of Education on Tuesday passed a $13.3 million budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

That budget shows the district to be operating in the black, with an anticipated end-of-the-year balance of $2.67 million.

If achieved, that balance would be about $200,000 over the balance at the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year.

“It’s a good, solid budget,” Superintendent Rich Well said after the meeting.

“We’ve tried to give our best estimates of how things will play out. But some of these things are hard to predict.

"We’ll be keeping a keen eye on several energy areas.”

Included in the budget, Well said, are funds to purchase two more buses. That brings the total to four buses purchased in the past two years.

He also noted that the budget doubles the money for classroom materials and books. “We’re not going to sacrifice these things,” he said.

He also said that the board has decided to buy new uniforms for the high school band.

“We’re fortunate to have a community that is willing to step up and help with these purchases,” he said, referring to the commitment by the band boosters organization to raise part of the money for the uniforms.

Well said that the first installment of property tax funds should be available to the school district by Oct. 29.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the 2008-09 budget for the Okaw Area Vocational Center.

That $1.2 million budget is actually under the direction of a board consisting of the superintendents of the eight school districts that participate in the programs there.

As the host district, however, the Vandalia school board must approve the budget, as well.

After the 15-minute budget hearing, the board moved into its regular meeting.

One of the first items in that meeting was a 20-minute executive session to discuss personnel and to set a price for the sale or lease of property.

No action was taken when the board returned to open session.

Once in open session, the board:

• Accepted a notice of intent to retire in June 2010 by Linda Schulte.

• Approved a bid for two school buses from Central States Bus, Blue Bird Buses for a total of $151,450.

• Approved a bid for oil and tires from South Central FS.

• Approved Todd Ehlers as seventh grade boys basketball coach.

• Accepted the resignation of Angela Gauch as fifth and sixth grade student council sponsor.

• Approved Shelly Forys as fifth and sixth grade student council sponsor.

• Approved the destruction of executive session audio recordings older than 18 months.

• Approved the application for Recognition of Schools.

• Approved the hiring of Mary Brown as a two-hour lunch supervisor at Vandalia Junior High School.

• Approved functional job analyses for bus drivers and custodians. Those analyses, which set the minimal physical requirements to perform the job, will be included in the hiring process.

The board also heard reports from all building principals about activities and programs going on in their buildings.

Well told the board that all custodians in the district have been provided with T-shirts to wear while on duty. The shirts feature the Vandal logo on the front and “VCUSD #203 Staff” on the back. “This should help them to be more identifiable if they are needed at a school event,” Well said.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.