8/22/2013 3:00:00 PM School Board okays additional appropriation
The Switzerland County School Board on Monday night honored longtime corporation employee Louise Hartman, center, on the occasion of her retirement. She has worked in the corporation for 39 years. Here, Superintendent Mike Jones, left, and Switzerland County Elementary School Principal Sally Weales present Louise Hartman with a plaque of appreciation.
The Switzerland County School Board held a special school board meeting on Monday night, and during the meeting the board held a public hearing on an additional appropriation to the corporation's Capital Projects portion of its budget.
The additional appropriation request was in the amount of $200,000, and the public notice required by law stated that the additional funds will be used for building improvements in all four corporation schools
Corporation Treasurer Wilma Swango told the board that the funds were already in the corporation accounts, but that they could not be spent because they had not been appropriated.
The additional appropriation would allow the school corporation to use the funds in specific ways to fund capital projects (improvements to the physical structures and grounds).
Central to the additional appropriation is the proposed development of four practice fields near Switzerland County High School that will be used for soccer and football.
The board will soon be accepting bids on the construction of those fields; and are expected to open and possibly accept bids at a meeting in September.
As part of that, at Monday's meeting the school board approved sending a request to the Switzerland County School Endowment Corporation for up to $60,000 in matching funds to partner with the school corporation on the construction of the fields. It would also take into account the possibility of adding tennis courts in the future.
School Board member Wayne Daugherty pointed out that the fields will be used by both the middle school and the high school soccer and football teams; as well as community youth leagues and programs.
"Plus, physical education right now has no place to go outside except for the parking lot," Wayne Daugherty said. "So it can be used for phys ed for both boys and girls."
During the public hearing on the additional appropriation, Wilma Swango said that the appropriation is necessary for a couple of reasons.
"We have a cash balance, so we have the funds to spend, but we don't have the authority to spend it because we don't have the appropriations," she said. "We have the need to spend it, at least I anticipate that we will have the need to spend it, because of some of the projects that we have done. We've done many projects. We've tried to fulfill the needs of the schools this year."
Wilma Swango said that one of the things that the corporation is doing is adding the fields.
"When we originally budgeted the fields request, I believe we budgeted for $20,000 at that point in time, now that's been an increase," Wilma Swango told the board. "Now there's some other things that came in over budget, and because of that reason we feel that we need additional appropriations to allow us to pay bills as they come in and not try and take any of that from General Fund."
Wilma Swango said that the corporation is allowed to purchase those types of items with General Fund dollars, but that the corporation works very hard not to do that.
School Board member Andy Truitt asked if there were any other specific items that the corporation was over budget on.
Wilma Swango said that when the corporation encumbered the funds for the new sign at the high school last year, the sign was budgeted for $10,000 less than what it ended up costing.
"In addition, I have to honestly say that there have been some expenses associated with football," Wilma Swango said. "You all will remember at that meeting (when football was approved), and I know the subject came up about how much it was going to cost. I'm sorry, but that was not a good reflection of what our needs really were. I don't think anybody misled us intentionally, I just think that we really understood what the needs were going to be, so there have been some necessary expenses with that, as well."