Peabody school board seeks fiscal equilibrium

Staff writer

The Peabody-Burns discussed possible options at Monday night’s meeting to raise funds for needed projects the regular budget cannot cover.

The district budget is still $15,352 from balancing, with drastic improvements needed in the near future for football field bleachers, parking lots, and a crack-filled track, Superintendent Ron Traxson said.

“We have a bond that will fall off in 2015,” he said. “If we extended that bond another year and then stair stepped it down over the next three years, we could cover our list of repairs. It’s one of the options we’re looking at.”

It is possible that with cuts to the budget, funds could come out of capital outlay, said Traxson.

Traxson was seeking board approval to begin research on the bond issue and to make financial room for those projects among others.

He asked the board to prepare a “laundry list” of items they felt needed repaired or replaced, but he thought the track was the most pressing issue.

“It’s got large cracks in the base,” he said. “As long as there are cracks in the base, water will continue to get into the cracks and eventually ruin the entire track.”

He wants the board to decide whether they want to bandage the problem by filling in the cracks, or come up with a financial plan to redo the whole track.

“We can fill the cracks but it won’t fix the problem,” board President Bruce Burke, said. “The long term solution we don’t have the money for.”

Athletic Director Ray Savage said the current track was constructed in 1988, and was resurfaced once in 2008.

“Twenty years is about the lifespan of tracks like ours,” Traxson said.

Traxson will bring estimates for replacing and repairing the track before the board at the October meeting.

“Nothing is official right now, we are still researching options,” Traxson said. “One way or another, we have to do something to fill the cracks or the track will only be able to be used as a practice track, and Peabody will lose its ability to hold home meets.”

Traxson is also petitioning County Commission members to gravel a section of road between Quail Creek and 10th and 20th Rds. He said the gravel would save the district some money and stream line the bus route.

Currently the bus has to drive eight miles out of its way to pick up students because of road conditions.

“If it rains the route is impassable,” he said.

Traxson estimates the detour adds an extra 15 to 20 minutes of ride time for students and costs the district at least a gallon of fuel a day.

“I’m trying to get it done, but the county said right now their priority is to finish paving projects before winter,” Traxson said.

Sept. 16 through 20 is Kansas School Preparedness Week. Elementary Principal Ken Parry will attend a conference in Manhattan Monday and Tuesday to prepare.

All school buildings will participate in fire, tornado, and new lockdown drills during the week. As well, as bus safety and bus evacuation drills for bus-riding students. Members of the Kansas Highway Patrol will give safety talks to students during the week.

“We feel these are all very important things students should be aware of,” Parry said. “It goes right along with the governor’s preparedness state movement.”

The board also approved a motion, as required every five years by the state, to state their mil-borrowing limit. The resolution increased the borrowing limit from six to eight mils.

“This is the level we can increase to,” Traxson said, “but it doesn’t mean we will ever increase to eight mils.”

In other news:

  • The board approved an increase for the cost of adult breakfast 5 cents to $1.90.
  • A special meeting was set for 5:30 p.m. before the regular Oct. 14 meeting to evaluate the superintendent.
  • A Kansas Association of School Board regional meeting will be at Hillsboro USD 374 District Office Sept. 25.

 

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