Budget process is delayed

The Augusta Board of Education handled  the annual reorganization of the board at this week’s meeting, but missing from a typical July agenda were items to formalize a budget.  
The Kansas Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday, July 18, the arguments for the constitutionality of a new funding formula that will add $285 million over the next two years to school district budgets.  It also creates a new per-pupil formula for the state’s 286 local school districts to provide more funds to programs for low-performing students.
Earlier this year, the courts said that the state’s existing $4 billion block-grant funding formula was inadequate to provide schools with enough money to get students to meet minimal state standards.
“Will the state fall short?  That’s what we’re waiting to see,” stated Superintendent John Black, “Everything is delayed, we’re a month behind.  Usually by now we’re deciding to publish the budget.  Now we’re waiting on a court decision.”
Election of officers
Bill Rinkenbaugh was re-elected, 5-0, as board president and Bob McCalla, was re-elected as board vice president, 5-0.
The reorganization also included other appointments , re-establishment of certain committees, establishment of designated newspaper, regular meeting, special meetings, BOE attorney, and appeal hearing officers.
New teachers
Assistant Superintendent Holly Francis reported that there will be 18 new teachers in the Augusta district this fall.  
“The majority are secondary, with a few in the elementary schools,” she said.
Robinson Elementary will have 3 new teachers
Lincoln Elementary - 1
Augusta Middle School - 5
Augusta High School - 9

Leadership preparation
Board members approved extending AMS Principal Matt Ward’s 2017-18 contract by 30 days.  The purpose of the increase is to develop district-level leadership experience in as many areas as possible.  
 Superintendent Black advised, “This will be a process over a couple of years.  I do not recommend a title change until there is clear increase in this authority and supervision.”
Revision of part-time student policy
Recently a couple of families had asked to enroll home school children in the AMS band program as part-time students.  After reviewing the request, a policy revision was presented to the board for approval.
The revised language to the part-time student section of the current policy was approved:
“Part-Time Students:  Part-time students may enroll or remain enrolled in the district with the board’s/administration’s permission only if part-time attendance is deemed appropriate in the student’s individualized education program or Section 504 plan or if the student is pursuing virtual school credits as part of a credit recovery program.  Second semester seniors are required to enroll in no less than 5 classes.  Part-time students may be admitted only to the extend that staff, facilities, equipment, and supplies are available and the students follow the district’s student conduct policies and rules.”
Reasons for the revision included:
* Part-time students taking the place of full time students
* Part-time students avoiding more rigorous classes that meet state standards
* Difficulty in providing the supervision of a student prior to class starting and once class is over.
Goal setting
The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, at the district office to review and set district goals.
From the Board
Before adjournment of the meeting, board member Bob McCalla shared a concern.
“I have to wonder about motorists coming into town wanting to get to the high school - how often do they miss it because there is no sign.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice sign somewhere?”
McCalla said that it would be a nice project for AHS alumni classes.

Belinda Larsen can be reached at: blarsen@butlercountytimesgazette.com