Dept. of Education notice leaves Bloomfield schools concerned about additional funds

The Bloomfield School board met in regular session at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 to discuss personnel, terms of sale for a property owned and a tuition support notice from the Department of Education.

Gibboney brought to the board’s attention a Nov. 24 notice from the Department of Education detailing complications that could result in Bloomfield and other school districts not seeing additional funding promised to them.

“As a result of our September count, they increased our ADM, our student count, and as a result we are owed additional funding from the DOE in our tuition support payment,” explained Gibboney. “But we received notice on Nov. 24 from the DOE that the tuition support payments that are scheduled for the next six months exceed the appropriations set by the state, so there’s the potential for–not just for Bloomfield–but for other districts not to see all that additional funding unless the state legislators go back and take action on that.”

According to the memorandum included in school board packets from the DOE, “[i]f the total tuition support amount that is appropriated exceeds the amounts generated by the formulas in statute to the recipients in a particular fiscal year, the Department is required to revert the excess funds to the state general fund. The formula is the amount of tuition support exceeding the annual appropriation multiplied by the quotient of the projected tuition support due to a recipient and the projected tuition support due to all recipients.

The Department has yet to determine the tuition support amounts payable due to outstanding data collections, but projections indicate that the award amounts will exceed appropriations by less than half of one percent. The notice asks recipients to be prepared for the possibility of reduced awards.

“I think it would be good to reach out to any of our local legislators to advocate on our behalf and provide us the funding, essentially, that we were promised,” said Gibboney.

In other business:

• The board began with a public hearing on an additional appropriation advertised on Nov. 15 before moving to approve the appropriation needed to finish the 2017 budget year as well as give trustees permission to spend an increase in funding the school received. The board then moved to approve the transfer of the appropriation resolution, which authorizes the treasurer of the school district to make expenditures in the 2017 budget.

• The board approved the hire of Amanda May, who is currently a 3-hour substitute teacher, as a part-time cafeteria cook; approved the hire of Janis Shaw and Jenny Medina as elementary academic coaches for robotics; approved the hire of Bianca Tolbert for Booster Club and Kaelyn Van Sant as volunteer junior high girls cheer coach. As an addition to the agenda, Kim Sisk was approved for hire for the position of instructional assistant.

• The board approved an updated salary schedule for non-certified staff, concerning the role of Superintendent Secretary, which would distribute the stipend in equal adjustments as opposed to applying the $1,000 stipend as part of the hourly rate.

•Concerning the property owned by the school on 445 W. South Street, the board voted on a minimum acceptable bid of $38,000, which is the average of the two appraisal reports, for the sale of the property and also approved a resolution to determine the terms of sale for the property. The school will begin receiving bids on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 a.m. to Jan. 24 at 10 a.m., which will then be decided upon at the regular January meeting.

The board approved the purchase of two 66-passenger buses from Kerlin Bus Sales, one of which will include a handicap chair lift. To help offset the cost of the buses, the school will trade in Bus 16 for trade value of $1,500 and Bus 17 for a trade value of $5,000.

•The board conducted the first reading of the 2018-19 school calendar, which included two options. One option included a one-week fall break while the other included a fall break of two days. The start dates of the final calendar will be adjusted to align more closely with GSSEC and Twin-Rivers. No action was taken.

No action was also taken for the first reading of updates to board policies, sections 0000 Bylaws-3531 Professional Staff. The updated policies were created through a review of the board policies between Superintendant Gibboney and the school’s NEOLA representative.

• Gibboney informed the board that he was considering options for career and technical (CTE) courses for students. He directed David Dean to survey students on additional courses they would be interested in, whether through Twin Rivers or a different career center. As a result of the survey, Gibboney visited Hoosier Hills Career Center at Bloomington North High School to observe their programs, which included 19 different pathways for students. Transportation would be provided for juniors and seniors wanting to participate in courses.

“We’re just exploring our options and we want to make sure we can provide our students with courses that interest them and that could also help better prepare them for their futures,” said Gibboney.

The next regular meeting of the Bloomfield School Board will take place on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Superintendent’s Office, 500 W. South Street in Bloomfield.

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