Medina looks at possible add-ons
MEDINA, Apr 09, 2012 (The Journal-Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The latest projection of the Medina Central School District's 2012-13 budget shows no increase in the property tax levy, but it was the current year's budget that had board members discussing space for limited programatic growth.
Board of Education members discussed the incoming $32 million budget Tuesday and programs that could be brought back using leftover funds unspent this year.
That fund balance could be used, School Business Administrator Sharon Zacher said, to advance the purchase of classroom technologies, pay down the district's debt service or lower the tax levy. That would not require more revenue in next year's budget plan.
"The projection for this year looks good," Zacher said.
Superintendent Jeff Evoy said Wednesday that technology upgrades, including the ongoing installation of a new computer network, remain a top priority.
"We need to strengthen and shore up our technology," said Evoy, who said he wants to begin phasing in the classroom installation of interactive whiteboards within the next year.
No action was taken Tuesday on any of the suggestions made by board members, which included bringing back a student resource officer from the Medina Police Department, limited field trips and extracurricular activities. Those decisions could be made April 17, when the board is scheduled to approve the budget proposition that will go before district residents in May.
Zacher's current budget for next year maintains the current extracurricular activities, varsity and junior varsity athletics, and a late afternoon bus run that would be used three times a week during the winter testing period. Additionally, several part-time teachers will be made full-time.
The projection has the tax levy for 2012-13 remaining at $9,135,636 despite revenues and appropriations increasing by 0.9 percent from 2011-12, a difference of $310,919. That is due to an $737,907 increase in state aid.
"The governor came through for us," Zacher said.
The board probed Zacher on the possibility off adding more programs of the kind that School Board President Maureen Blackburn described as "things to keep students positively busy."
Zacher projected bringing back modified sports would cost around $35,000 for equipment, coach and referee stipends and transportation. Building up funding for field trips could be done at any funding level, but transportation costs could hold back extensive growth.
Evoy said adding consistent opportunities for students is a balancing act.
"If we can offer students at ms level such as a sport, club or activity, we should do that," Evoy said. "But we have to think both short- and long-term. We don't want to be in a cycle where programs are being cut and brought back and cut again."
The board is looking into teaming with the Medina Police Department to bring a student resource officer back to the high school.
"I think our district needs it," board member Virginia Nicholson said. "(The program) came so far in a few years and we could regain some of that."
Nicholson said the school and village could apply for grant funding for an officer this summer, but the program wouldn't start until the 2013-14 school year.
Evoy, whose previous district had a similar program, said adding a safety presence is "critical."
"If kids don't feel safe, they won't do well, but when there's a police officer building positive relationships with students kids feel freer to speak up," Evoy said. "It's a win-win."
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