Centerville-Abington Community Schools discussed ways to meet rising 2024 expenses, including new buses, insurance, technology and personnel, and save money.
- Buses: The district’s bus replacement plan calls for the purchase of two buses next year. Assistant Superintendent Sean Stevenson told board members at their Dec. 13 meeting that delivery takes 18 months. Large districts that let buses get outdated are flooding companies with orders, he said.
In addition, fewer activity buses are being made and sold, so orders for smaller buses aren’t guaranteed.
Superintendent Mike McCoy said buses have increased $50,000 since he became superintendent in 2020.
The board approved a 72-passenger bus for $152,477 and an activity bus for $99,495.
- Technology: After focusing on the state’s new textbook reimbursement procedures, Indiana unexpectedly isn’t offering Common School Loans for the first time in 23 years, which CACS previously has relied on for technology purchases. Centerville planned on $170,000 being available.
McCoy and CACS Treasurer Tyna Stover are working with advisers from BakerTilly and Ice Miller on funding options: a Help Lease or GO Bond.
The timing is especially challenging because Indiana schools can no longer charge families for educational materials or technology. Some course materials, especially in upper grades, cost more than maximum reimbursement, which the district must absorb.
- Wellness Center: Stevenson said the center at Centerville Senior High School, which is open to the public, is losing money every month. Some hours will change effective Jan. 1.
Stevenson has been tracking usage and for many hours no one’s using it while an employee is being paid.
Board members noted more public fitness centers have opened within a short drive since CACS’ opened.
Because the district’s federal Title funding that helps provide classroom aides for at-risk children is decreasing $10,000 when the need is just as high or higher, McCoy said fitness center savings will help offset that loss.
- Insurance: Kyle Turner of Turner & Shepherd provided discouraging 2024 nationwide trends. He’ll present proposals at the board’s 7 p.m. Jan. 10 meeting.
Turner said CACS’ workers’ compensation costs will decrease by 12%, but that’s offset by other increases. CACS had two significant claims last year for Rose Hamilton Elementary’s water damage and a cyber incident.
Premiums are increasing nationwide for several reasons, Turner said, including expensive weather-related damages, inflation affecting property values and repair costs, and carriers not being able to make money in the stock market.
- The board added a 6 p.m. Dec. 18 meeting to consider an updated tax anticipation warrant resolution.
In other business
- Policies: CACS is approving new administrative and operational policies from a new provider. When considering options regarding student discipline and suspension/expulsion, the board voted to continue hearing expulsion appeals.
- Donations: Love Well and Centerville Christian Church, $280.91 toward Stop the Bleed kits, and Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing, Inc., $250 to CSHS’ Drama Club.
- Departures: Jessica Maule, high school assistant cross country coach; Tashia Clark, special education teaching assistant, and Demi Howell, computer lab assistant, both at Rose Hamilton
- New hires: Gabe Phillips, substitute custodian; Phoebe Chasteen, substitute
- Pending hires: Chelsey Varvel, Title 1 kindergarten assistant at RH; Adam Hampton, substitute
- Transfer: Ashley Woods from substitute to RH computer lab assistant
Board member Brad Lambright joined Indiana School Boards Association’s Region 6 legislative committee.
A version of this article appeared in the December 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.