Highland board reviews school finances, report on Title I reading programs

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The Highland School board members received encouraging reports on the new Title I reading programs at the elementary level and a review of the school finances on Monday evening, Oct. 12.

Janice Thomann and Judy Lauer spoke highly of the new Barton Reading Program in Title I for elementary students.  They said 37students are in the program, including four in the third grade.

Thomann and Lauer said it is helping with the self-esteem of the students as well as helping to improve reading. They were encouraged to help the students feel confident about what they are doing and to blend sound and letters.

It is a multi-sensory program. The teachers said they are making progress in getting younger students ready for the Barton program, but stressed to the board not to expect overnight success as it is a long-term program.

Each student is given one-on-one instruction four times a week. The program helps with vocabulary improvement, which helps with reading. Thomann and Lauer said usually by the third grade, students are ready to be good readers.

The board unanimously approved the certified annual financial report as presented by school Highland business manager and board secretary Sue Rich. The report showed total expenditures of $11,703,311.92 for the 2019-20 school year.

The Special Education fund showed revenues of $1,261,587.53 and expenditures of $1,783,297 (a deficit of $521,709.47). The income reported showed revenues of $15,013,049.15. This includes $5,860,501.48 in property taxes. 

The authorized expenditures for 2019-20 was $9,528,774 but only $7,874,411.02 was spent, leaving an unspent authorized fund balance of $1,654,363.

The board also approved the Special Education Supplement, the Transportation report, and the modified allowable growth and supplemental aid for negative special education balance.

The board approved the purchase of a used 2019 12-passenger Ford Transit van from Krueger Auto, Lone Tree, for $24,910. Supt. Ken Crawford noted the plan is to buy two vans but wants to first use this van and see how it works.

The board also approved the sale of the following:

•2005 65-passenger school bus to Marion Avenue Baptist Church for $2,750.

•2002 Chrysler van to Derick Bell for $500.

•2008 Chrysler van to Steve Genck for $500.

They decided not to sell a third van, a 2013 Dodge Caravan.

The board approved the following appointments: Alexis Hoit, secondary special education associate at $10 an hour and Dylan Stewart, head soccer coach and junior high wrestling coach.

The board also accepted the resignation of Angela Strobel as head track coach effective immediately.

The board set a work session for Monday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. and the next board meeting for Monday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m.

The board also reviewed  cultural survey questions to be included in the online survey on Oct. 19.

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