Clintonville enrollment down
A total of 1,404 students were present for the Clintonville Public School District’s annual third Friday pupil count on Sept. 20. That number is down 49 students from last year, when 1,453 students were counted.
Of those 1,404 students, 454 are at the high school; 426 are at Rexford-Longfellow; 413 are at the middle school; and 88 are at Dellwood. A total of 59 students open enrolled into the district, while 82 open enrolled out of the district, bringing the adjusted head count to 1,404.
Parochial schools also participated in the third Friday count. St. Martin Lutheran School tallied 179 students, while St. Rose and St. Mary Catholic School reported 71 students, for a total of 250 students in Clintonville parochial schools. This number has dropped seven percent since last year.
“There are just fewer students in the District as a whole,” said Superintendent Tom O’Toole. “It’s not like students are leaving us to go to a parochial school, or leaving there to come to us; there are just fewer students here to draw from.”
Fund Balance Discussion
Business Manager Jenny Goldschmidt reported that the district’s fund balance currently sits at $5 million, noting that this amount is up from $4.8 million last year.
“We try to maintain 20-25 percent of the total budget in our fund balance,” she said. “For us, $4 million in fund balance is a good place to be. Right now, we are about $1 million over that amount, which is good. We already have about $200,000 of that $1 million designated, which leaves the district with about $800,000 over the 25 percent that can be used for items that need to be addressed.
“Some items we need to think about addressing are the purchase of a new work truck,” she added. “We also need to look at splitting the cost of another van with Pupil Services. We have one right now, and it gets used all the time. We will be pushing for that this year.
“We need to look at getting walkie talkies for staff, administrators, and other school staff to communicate,” said Goldschmidt. “Also, our phone system is getting old. We’ve had some phones break, and parts are getting harder to find. So far, we have been able to find replacement parts, but they are getting scarce. We are looking at voice over internet protocol (VOIP) options.
“Technology items are also important. Tablets, computer labs, and computer parts need to be considered,” she stated. “Building maintenance is also important. Longfellow needs a new HVAC system, new windows, and a new roof. Also, the intersection of N. Main Street and Hwy. 156/Green Tree Road is scheduled to be reconstructed in 2017. We may want to add sidewalk on our corner of that intersection once it is reconstructed.”
“I think we should also consider adding to the retirement benefit fund (Fund 73),” said board member Ben Huber. “We should begin looking at funding that.”
“Would it be prudent to look at all aspects of long-term strategic planning?” asked board member Pat Schley. “We need to do this. I would like that to happen.”
Special Education Services
Colesha Kabble spoke to the board during the public comments portion of the meeting to discuss speech and special education services that the Clintonville Public School District provides to parochial schools.
“My child has a hearing disability,” she said. “The law allows the district to reduce the services from 60 minutes per week to just 15 minutes per week. We are trying hard to have these services continue, because every kid that needs it should get it. Of course, the final decision is up to the public school.”
O’Toole said services would continue, and noted that he had spoken to St. Rose and St. Mary Catholic School Principal Jennifer Wood about this item.
“Starting this year, we were informed that the practice will change,” said Wood. “The law hasn’t changed yet, but the public school district has decided to reduce what they offer to parochial schools to the legal minimum.”
“This is correct,” confirmed O’Toole. “Board members have a copy of the calculation used regarding special education services to the parochial schools. We are going to use as much funding as we can in order to better serve our public school students. We are not discontinuing services to the parochial schools; we are following the letter of the law and offering them services based on their legal allotment.”
Board member Jim Dins asked what it was costing the district to provide additional services, rather than the legal minimum. O’Toole said it amounted to time away from other students in the public school district.
Dins commented that this change would affect St. Martin Lutheran School as well.
“It’s a balancing act for parents,” said O’Toole. “Private schools offer some things that public schools don’t offer, and vice versa.”
A bullying complaint was brought to the board by Jon Bayless, whose daughter is in fourth grade. School Board President Dirk Weber said the board had no knowledge of the alleged incident, and suggested that Bayless meet with administrators to discuss his concerns.
The board discussed and approved the first reading of several revisions to a portion of the 6000 Series policies.