Building savings added to H-L fund

BASCOM – A small group of residents attended the State of the School meeting Wednesday night in the Hopewell-Loudon auditeria.

Treasurer Veronica Reinhart began by reviewing the district’s financials. As with many districts, Hopewell-Loudon has lost revenues totaling $678,000 in the past year. The district no longer is to receive stimulus funds or personal property tax funds. Income from the casinos was less than predicted, bringing $18,000 to the district.

The district has reduced costs by cutting staff without cutting course offerings. The assistant principal’s position has been restructured and the transportation director has been eliminated.

The good news is that the construction costs of the new facility came in under estimate. The district will be able to add $650,000 to the capital improvement fund or use the money to reduce the debt.

Open enrollment brings $1.7 million to the district, which is the equivalent of 16 mills.

“Your taxes would double without the open enrollment income,” Reinhart said.

This year, one-third of the 900 students come from outside the district.

Reinhart said the homestead rollback, a 12-percent reduction on primary residences, no longer is to apply to new levies. The rollback still applies to renewed levies. The district is to look to renew the operating levy that expires in 2014.

Superintendent Nicole Jiran outlined the district’s initiatives targeting student learning. Setting learning goals and frequent formative assessments – a brief, informal quizzing of the individual learning goals – is to guide instruction. To focus on middle school literacy skills, reading and writing has been divided into two classes, with no increase in staff.

“Love it,” is how Jiran described the teachers’ and students’ reaction to the new building. “It’s great coming to work each day. The new technology is being used on a daily basis and the security system is reassuring.”

She described minor issues that need to be address before the district will sign off on the project.

The band field probably won’t be released to the school until next fall, when the grass coverage meets requirements.

Demolition of the former building is behind schedule, and buttoning up of the Chieftain gym also is behind schedule.

The drug screen policy, which has applied to athletes since last winter, is to apply to all participants in extracurricular activities beginning with the winter season. Participants are to be drug tested at the start of their activity and then be subject to random testing through the year. This policy applies year-round.

Prior to the general meeting, the board met in special session to approve a substitute worker, supplemental contracts and a volunteer chaperone.