...working budget, energy plan also given the green light at Berea Ind. board meeting; district, city still in talks about sharing stadium renovation costs

Richmond Register, Sept. 20, 2016

Working budget approved by Berea BOE
Ricki Barker

Berea Independent Board of Education approved it’s total working budget of $15,110,486.74 for the 2016-2017 school year Monday evening during its regular monthly meeting.

According to Superintendent Mike Hogg, the district’s total general fund budget with a projected $2,751,000 carryover of $11,848,400. The general fund includes a tentative amount of $5,150,000 in Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding, as well as local and state taxes.

The district will also receive a total allocation of federal and state grants projected at $1,537,115.50, which includes state grants for gifted and talented, Family Resource and youth Service Centers and Technology Grants, among others. Federal grants allocations include GEAR UP and Title I, II, III, IV and VI funding, among others.

The total projected budget for the district’s food service program is $902,871.24. Funding for it comes from federal reimbursement and paying students and staff.

Berea Independent’s building budget includes $99,000 for capital outlay, $723,100 for building fund and $742,705 in expenditures for construction costs for the districts pending building project, which includes the construction of new classrooms and the replacement of HVAC system for the elementary school.

The board also approved the district’s 2016-2017 energy plan, which was designed to reduce the school’s energy consumption and to increase energy Hogg told board members the current plan is working well and saved the district $53,317 last year in total energy costs for a reduction of 19.3 percent.

“The plan really has made a difference, and if you look at our electricity and natural gas usage over the previous years, barring last year’s unusually cold winter when we had to use more heat, our usage has steadily declined,” Hogg said. “So we are seeing that, yes, it does make a difference when we turn off the lights, or have computers shut down after 10 minutes of not being used.”

Hogg said the goal for the 2016-2017 energy plan was to further reduce electricity and natural gas usage both by five percent.

During his superintendent report, Hogg updated the board on his personal professional growth plan of which he will update the board monthly on his progress as well as a Duerson Stadium renovation update.

Hogg said the Berea City Administrator Randy Stone has informed him that the situation is still under advisement after the school board and city leaders could not come to an agreement on how to share the expense of renovations.

Hogg reminded the board the district has yet to receive a concrete decision in regards to their response to the city.

"I know there is an objective to have a plan in place by summertime,” Hogg explained. “We currently have four soccer teams playing on only one real soccer field and they are aware of the potential expansion we have discussed about using the field for lacrosse as well. It is the third or fourth fastest growing sport in the country and I think we would have some interest from our students and community about that potential.”

The board also received an elementary school report from Paula Gordon in which she explained recent positive results of a BRIGANCE Early Childhood screening results. Gordon said the results show that most of Berea’s elementary students are off to a good start this year and that the school’s primary care programs are having an impact on students as nearly half of the students from Berea’s primary programs tested kindergarten ready.

Gordon also praised success of the Leader in Me programs and other positive behavioral programs implemented in the elementary school.

“We are down in discipline referrals,” Gordon explained. “We are down 45 referrals from this time last year, which I think is very significant.”

In her middle and high school report for the board, Donna Lovell said the Green Dot program, a student-led program that helps to identify emotionally or physically unsafe areas at school and change them, is gaining ground.

“The program started last year and we are really moving forward with it at the school,” Lovell explained. “The students that have been trained are working hard to get others involved. So many times you can start the programs and they don’t gain ground. It’s nice to see so many students working to ensure it remains in the forefront and see how much they want this to work.”

Lovell and Eef Fontanez also reviewed the Class of 2016’s ACT scores, which were released to the public in August, with board members.

Fontanez said more students than ever participated in the testing and the school had the highest percentage of students meeting benchmarks.

“Twenty-six percent of the class of 2016 met all the benchmarks. That is up from 10 percent the previous year,” he explained.

Lovell credited the growth in scores, to a change in the way student’s think about the test and their scores and the test preparation programs the school has put in place for students to better prepare.

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