School Board to vote on budget amendments, bonds

Sunday, April 10, 2011 | 3:20 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public Schools Board will swear in newly-elected members and vote on new business regarding budget amendments and bond sales at its next meeting. The meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday at the district's administration building at 1818 W. Worley St.

The board's first order of business will be to swear in Helen Wade, Jonathan Sessions and Tom Rose, who were elected to the board on Tuesday night. The board will also vote for its president and vice president. Currently, Jan Mees serves as president of the board and Tom Rose as vice president.

Items up for vote on the agenda include budget amendments for 2010-11. The district's Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said there are projections made for areas involving federal funding in the budget each year, and oftentimes the district does not find out what those numbers actually are until after the budget has been set. The amendments on the table are concerning funds for Title I funds and Title I American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Much of this federal stimulus money is used for early childhood education.

"When we set the budget (in June), they don't find out what they get until July," Quinley said. "It's not really that anything has changed, but now we know the final allocations."

Quinley described the budget amendments as "housekeeping things" that do not significantly impact the budget.

The board will also vote on whether to extend Superintendent Chris Belcher's contract for one more year, making it valid through 2013-14. The contract proposes a salary increase for 2011-12 from $185,232 to $188,492 as well as a mileage reimbursement increase from $7,200 to $7,500. The administration also proposes a local civic dues reimbursement of $400.

One of the biggest items up for action is the authorization of the sale of $43 million in General Obligations bonds and the refunding of bonds. The proceeds from the sale will go to the continued construction of Muriel Williams Battle High School as well as gymnasiums for secondary schools and technology. The vote would also engage the firm Piper Jaffray as underwriters for the bonds and Gilmore & Bell as bond counsel.

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