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Arthur School District receives the highest financial score on their budget audit

School enrollment numbers are trending downward

By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Staff Writer
At the Wednesday, October 19 Arthur Board of Education meeting Superintendent Shannon Cheek reported that the district’s budget was recently audited and Robin Yacke of Shelbyville went over some of the findings. The Arthur High School building was placed on a depreciation schedule in 2000. It has been contributing about $150,000 to the depreciation expense to the district. There were three compliance findings: 1). Inadequacy of the Treasurer’s bond – for seven months it wasn’t high enough, 2). There have been a lot of adjustments to the budget, which can push it over, 3). The lease for the copier needs to be paid out of the debit to service fund and 4). The only deficit funding was found in the transportation fund which has been a very common finding in audits because of the price of fuel and coming back after COVID. Overall, the school district’s profile score was a “4,” which is financial recognition. This is the highest financial score that a district can receive.

Cheek presented enrollment numbers, both present and past. “Our enrollment numbers have been trending downwards,” he informed. “There really isn’t an explanation for this, but it could be an effect of COVID,” he added. In the 2019-2020 school year, the total number of students in the district were 1,193. For the 2022-2023 school year, presently the total number of students is 1,010.

The boy’s high school golf team was recognized. The team has won four consecutive championships in the last two seasons and they have not lost a conference match. Four of the eight players have played in the all conference as well.

The new grade school music teacher was introduced. Dr Jose Gobbo who is a Brazilian native has been splitting his time between Arthur, Atwood-Hammond and Lovington’s grade schools. He plays a wide variety of musical instruments such as piano, trombone, trumpet and saxophone. The district is quite excited to have him on board and stated that he has gotten kids excited about and loving music again.

During the principal reports, the Arthur Grade School thanked the high school for involving the elementary kids during homecoming. The board was informed that the mentor program is up and running at Arthur Grade School. Presently, there are about five people who are mentoring the kids. Superintendent Cheek is searching to add a therapy dog to the staff at the high school. Currently, they are looking into a dog named Silas and if all goes well, they hope to have him on staff by sometime in November.

The School Maintenance Grant was approved. It is a matching funds grant worth $50,000. The district is able to utilize ESSER funds to match the funds. Thanks was given to Amanda Romine for working through the grant.

The Superintendent goals were approved. Those goals consisted of professional development, work on the facilities and curriculum. Shannon Cheek noted that it was important to start talking about the facilities and the need to generate some different methods about gaining information since the school referendum failed. The district needs to develop a plan on how they will proceed to do this. Cheek is looking to help improve communications by hiring an outside communications auditor to work with the staff and hope they come up with a more in depth report of how they can do better. Moving forwards with help on communications, the board approved a communications assessment from CESO Baseline. “I am excited about this, but I am also humbled by what some of the things are that we will find,” said Cheek.

The BLDD Contract for the HVAC project was approved. Presently there is a tentative schedule for bids. A pre-bid meeting will be held on October 27 and a bid opening will be held on November 10. Potential approval of a bid will be November 16 and then afterwards, the district hopes to order the units. The biggest concern is hoping that the units will be delivered by the summer so the project will be able to begin.

A possible donation to the Arthur Park District for field work was considered since the school uses the field for practice and games. Cheek stated that over the course of the few years that he has been here, there haven’t been any donations given to the Park District for use of the field. Cheek’s recommended donation was $2,500. After some discussion between board members, they thought it was best if they found out information about what it may cost to operate the field every year and what is paid for upkeep, etc which could help calculate a more accurate number for a donation. After agreeing to calculate what that number would be and releasing the funds from the correct account, board members approved making a donation to the park district.

Three separate groups for the new focus groups have been formed in Arthur, Lovington and Atwood-Hammond to gather information to create a survey in hopes for the creation of a new referendum in the future and for research to see what potentially went wrong with the last referendum. Those groups that were created were a teacher group, community group and parent group. Their first meeting was held last Monday in Arthur. Monday, October 24, a meeting will be held in Atwood and Tuesday, October 25, there will be a meeting in Lovington. “We are trying to gather as much information as possible before moving forward,” said Cheek. “I am excited to get some feedback.”

As the board meeting came to a close, Cheek gave thanks to those who helped out during homecoming week and all those who were involved. He also thanked the admin team for their extra time spent towards the Community Partnership Grant. Cheek also wanted to thank the community and educator participation in the focus group process. He also was grateful for the Administrative collaboration and cooperation. “The work being done is exciting to witness and I’m proud of their efforts,” he said.

Personnel Report

October 19, 2022

Certified:

Accept Sara Kirkpatrick letter of resignation as the Social Worker at AHGS

Accept Mrs. Marylisa Renfro letter of intent to retire after the 2026-2027 school year

Recommended for hire, Jose Gobbo for music at AHGS and LGS replacing Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Rosenbaum.

Non-Certified:

Recommend for hire, Brock Hayse as the LGS custodian replacing Keith Wood.

Extra-Curricular:

Recommend approval of Marissa Hershberger as an volunteer Assistant Girls Basketball Coach at the HS.

Consider accepting letter of resignation from Mr. Lynn Farmer from JH Girls Basketball at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

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