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Ballard budget, start date approved

The 2013-2014 school year budget was adopted and school start date was approved at the Ballard School Board meeting Monday night.

A hearing was held regarding the coming school year’s budget, to which no discussion took place. The budget is set at $21.6 million, a more than $520,000 difference from the re-estimated 2013 budget, which is $22.1 million. Those figures represent the total expenditures for all funds. A budget guarantee resolution was also adopted, which states the board “will levy property tax for fiscal year 2013-2014 for the regular program budget adjustment as allowed under section 257.14, Code of Iowa.” This is something the board is encouraged to adopt each year. The board passed both the budget adoption and budget guarantee resolution with unanimous approval.

Board members made mention during the meeting their “disappointment” in how their special meeting held April 1 was reported. Board member Jean Saveraid said while they may not have shown any emotion as they were voting on the terminations of contracts and supplemental contracts for Ballard staff members, inside they were feeling the impact of their actions. Board president David Jackson added that board members have spent many sleepless nights thinking about the decisions they have been faced with as a result of the district’s efforts to cut approximately $787,000 from their budget for the coming school year.

The board also discussed two options for the coming school year’s academic calendar. One of the options included an Aug. 15 start date, while the other had an Aug. 19 start date. A concern brought forth to the board was the conflict the earlier start date would have with students’ participation in the Iowa State Fair, which runs Aug. 8-18.

The Aug. 19 start date was approved unanimously by the board. This start date includes early-out days for staff development during the first two days of school, Aug. 19 and 20, 85 days in the first semester and 95 days in the second semester. Superintendent Ottie Maxey said any snow make-up days would be held at the end of the year, rather than during scheduled staff development days, which has happened in the past. The staff development days used to make up snow days were held at the end of the school year.

“That’s just not the best time for teacher learning,” Maxey said.

Both options had the same spring break dates, and the first semester of the school year would conclude before winter break.

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