New Bloomfield School Board talks money

Board members, administrators discuss a new grant, 2014 fiscal year budget, greenhouse

Much of the discussion at the New Bloomfield Board of Education meeting Thursday was financially motivated.

Superintendant David Tramel announced to the board that the district received a $132,360 grant to cover new energy-efficient lighting in the elementary and middle school-high school buildings. The Missouri Department of Economic Development provided the grant, which comes with a 2.5 percent interest rate, and Tramel said the energy-efficient savings will equate to the annual payment for the lighting.

“It truly will pay for itself,” Tramel said.

Tramel also presented the board with his draft of what the district’s 2014 fiscal year budget could look like. Based on the current year’s projections, Tramel said the 2014 fiscal year budget could include a surplus between $30,000 and $40,000. While he said he’s conservative when planning a budget, Tramel added the district most likely doesn’t need to be as conservative with finances as in the past.

He added that a final budget won’t be solidified until the state legislature finalizes its budget. Gov. Jay Nixon proposed fully funding the education formula during his state of the state address.

“I hope it does and I’m praying it will,” Tramel said.

Several board members seemed more skeptical that the legislature would fully fund the formula, however. If New Bloomfield Schools are fully funded, Tramel said, the district could receive about $170,000 more from the state.

Tramel’s projections, though, are smaller than the fully-funded number with a budget draft includes between $35,000 and $60,000 more state funding than previously.

In a better financial situation for the 2014 fiscal year, Tramel said salary freezes are unlikely and New Bloomfield will be able to stay on its salary schedule.

The topic of a new greenhouse resurfaced again during the meeting.

Jeremy Davidson, middle and high school principal, reported information from Darren Humphrey, New Bloomfield’s FFA advisor and vocational agriculture teacher. Humphrey is also the coach of the girls’ basketball team, which played a game Wednesday night, and was unable to attend the meeting.

Davidson said Humphrey has reached out to two companies — TekSupply and Hummert International — to receive pricing information for a new greenhouse. Hummert gave Humphrey a $32,000 price tag for a new greenhouse.

Davidson pointed out to the board that number is for the structure alone and does not include seperate costs such as propane gas, lighting, vehiliation or water. Humphrey previously presented the issue to the board in November and said Hummert International charges $20,000 for installation.

Tech Supply has not yet responded to Humphrey’s request, Davidson said.

Through his research, Humphrey has spoken with South Callaway and Montgomery County schools, which chose Hummert for their greenhouse needs. Davidson said both schools have been pleased with not only the structures, but also the service.

“We want a quality structure that will last forever,” Board Member Craig Abbott said via phone as he was unable to attend the meeting physically. Because of his physical absence, Abbott was unable to vote.

Tramel said funding a new greenhouse could be a possible summer project because the district isn’t facing as many “big ticket items” once school is out. He also said that FFA funds and grants through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education go toward funding.

At the November board meeting, Humphrey described the greenhouse as nonfunctional for the 63 students he taught in two agriculture classes.

“I’ve taught without greenhouses before and it’s extremely difficult,” Humphrey said in November.

Susan Dudley, assistant middle and high school principal, said she would head a committee to address the greenhouse concern and present solutions at the next board meeting.

The board approved a general obligation bond refunding Thursday night. The refunding comes with a net savings of $119,382.

With the 6-0 vote in favor, the board approved the sale of $1,815,000 in general obligation bonds that comes with an average interest rate of 1.76 percent, according to a press release from the bond underwriter, L.J. Hart & Company. That 1.76 percent interest rate is less that the series of refunded bonds from 2009 and 2011, which was 3.53 percent.

New Bloomfield Board of Education meetings are on the third Thursday of every month and are open to the public.

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