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Union City School Board approves a $14 million budget for 2010-11

Union City School Board approves a $14 million budget for 2010-11

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 9:01 pm

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Special to The Messenger
Educating Union City’s youth next year is going to cost just over $14 million, and that doesn’t include more than $500,000 in federal Race to the Top funds that will be used, in large measure, for new technology in the classrooms.
At Monday night’s half-hour Union City School Board meeting, the board unanimously approved a proposed 2010-11 budget that totaled $14,164,655. The budget still has to be approved by the city council, which will be asked to provide just over $1.2 million as its time-honored share of educating the community’s children and youth. This amount is unchanged from previous years, making the school system unique in its appeals to the local taxpayers.
“Our people have been wise and conservative in their spending,” Director of Schools Gary Houston noted. In addition to holding its request for funds from the city constant through the years, the school system has this year also accepted the responsibility of paying the salaries of the two School Resource officers  previously funded directly by the city through the police department and of paying for its own garbage pick-up — another saving for the city, which had been footing the bill. This means that the school system plans, in effect, not only to ask for no increases in funding but to leave the city $80,000 to the good.
In addition, the school system will be paying out increases in medical coverage and retirement funds for employees and will be making several improvements to property, including replacing bleachers at Union City High School, replacing a cooling tower at Union City Middle School, resurfacing the high school track and other needed changes.
The 32-page school budget was presented by the school system’s finance director, Carol Flood, who briefed the school board on general revenue and expenditure figures. She provided board members with copies of the spending plan, which includes nearly $6.6 million in state revenue, nearly $2.35 in federal revenue as well as nearly $787,000 in fund balance and reserves. Over half the school budget goes directly for classroom education — more than $6.86 million.
The school board unanimously approved the budget, following a motion by vice chairman Shea Riley and a second by board member Cathy Waggoner. The board agreed to operate under its 2009-10 budget until the new budget is approved by the city council.
While the school board was busy reviewing and approving the 2010-11 budget Monday night, the State Board of Education is working today reviewing the local school system’s plan to spend $506,716 that is being allocated through the federal Race To The Top program.
Vicki Wilkinson and Dr. Michelle Arant spent a few minutes at Monday night’s meeting briefing the board on an overview of the school system’s grant application. Mrs. Wilkinson, the school system’s curriculum coordinator, explained the application process has been going on for several weeks and that state officials were to review Union City’s final plan today.
Dr. Arant, the retiring federal projects coordinator for the school system, presented board members with a detailed outline of exactly how the $506,716 in federal funds will be spent. Like other school systems across the state, Union City will receive the federal grant money over a four-year period.
Under the local spending plan, the federal money will be used to introduce some additional valuable new technology to classrooms in the city while also expanding existing programs in a system that made a commitment to utilyzing the best technological advances available several years ago.
Specifically, the federal funds will be used to buy additional graphing calculators for all Union City Middle School students; fund the work, through contracts, of consultants and “coaches” to help train teachers in utilyzing new technologies; add intensive Saturday “Student Camps” throughout the year for those who are struggling in some courses; and provide funding for professional teacher development and for innovative technology programs for students.
It was apparent at Monday night’s meeting that a considerable amount of work has been put into developing the plan to use the more than half a million dollars in federal funds.
The local Race To The Top plan was unanimously approved by the board following a motion by board member Dr. Wright Jernigan and a second by Riley.
In addition to approving a 2010-11 budget and the Race To The Top plan, the school board also renewed Director of Schools Gary Houston’s contract and took care of a series of routine matters Monday night.
The board unanimously approved Houston’s contract renewal with one significant change. After 13 years leading the Union City School System, the board encouraged Houston to set his own goals for the 2010-11 school year, rather than the board setting performance goals.
“We’ve decided to take a different approach this year,” board chairman Glenda Caudle said prior to the board’s approval of allowing Houston to set his own goals. The move represents a very high level of confidence that the board has in Houston’s leadership.
“I make the motion the Union City Board of Education renew the contract of Director of Schools Gary Houston through action that will accept the performance goals proposed for the 2010-11 school year and that will include the following changes in provisions: (a) the director shall be employed for a period beginning on the first day of July 2010 and ending on the 30th day of June 2014 and (b) his compensation shall be an annual salary of $98,000 in 12 monthly installments,” board member Ellarine Moses stated in her motion, which was seconded by Mrs. Waggoner.
In other action Monday night, the school board:
• Accepted a $62,630 bid from Pro Court Construction of Huntsville, Ala., to apply a new polyresin surface to the Union City High School track. There was only one bid for the project.
• Approved a low bid of $9,390 bid from Howard D. Happy Co. for 300 cases of duplicating paper.
• Approved a low bid of $42,732.34 bid from Turner Dairy for milk products for the 2010-11 school year. Also, Turner Dairy’s $4,283.30 single bid for ice cream and dessert packages for the upcoming school year was accepted by the board. Also accepted by the school board was a $7,392.75 low bid from Interstate Bread for bread for the upcoming school year.
• Reviewed a brief personnel report from Houston, in which he announced the hiring of Lindsey Beth Hughes as a new teacher at Union City Elementary School and the hiring of Dr. Deborah Palmer as the new federal projects/special education administrator. Also, Houston announced that Lance Morgan has been reassigned as the new career technical education administrator, although he will continue some classroom instruction responsibilities, and UCHS English teacher Tara Kendall has been reassigned as the new UCHS librarian. Under retirement news, Houston reported that UCES curriculum coach and former classroom teacher Sandy Anderson and UCMS cafeteria manager Madeline Carey have retired. Mrs. Anderson will continue to serve in her position on a 120-day contract for the 2010-11 school year.
• Was informed by Mrs. Caudle that the delegation of seven UCHS students, plus an Obion County Central High School student and a South Fulton High School student, were to leave today on a Union City Rotary Club-funded all-expense-paid 12-day European trip or enrichment and discovery. She said she was hopeful that the students would be able to make a formal presentation about their trip to the board when they returned. Union City High School English teacher Joanna Wisener and her husband, Clark, are chaperones for the trip.
Absent from the meeting was board member Karl Ulrich.
Published in The Messenger 6.15.10

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