The St. Joseph School District’s Finance Committee is working on providing infographics on budget summaries as well as how money is being spent within the school district to the public.
During Monday’s meeting, the group reviewed a draft of the budget document, with a final infographic to be voted on during an upcoming board meeting to be shown to the public online. Small changes to the document were discussed, including the addition of information to the final draft.
“We get a lot of questions and a lot of phone calls as to, ‘How much do you spend in this area? What part of your budget comes from the state? What part is local?’ We have put together this infographic, and what we’re trying to do is put it in layman’s terms and try to make it as self-explanatory as possible and try to answer some of those questions. If we get this information in the hands of our board members or the hands of the public, they can kind of assist us in answering some of those questions.”
The document is broken down into different sections, including the district’s revenue, expenses and fund balance. A budget summary leading to the total operating budget of $134.8 million also is laid out as well as the district’s top five taxpayers.
Also discussed during the Finance Committee meeting was the district’s contract with Catapult Learning, which supplied resources and curricula for the Summer Journey program this past summer.
In its first year with the St. Joseph School District, the program attracted 4,883 students and exceeded $250,000 in surplus revenue.
Last year, the students attended a total of 116 hours, and with the upcoming year, the district is looking to increase that to 138 hours, resulting in a higher surplus going into next summer, possibly reaching to $751,000.
Edgar said that some of those dollars will go toward the teachers to allow for more planning time in the summer, a common issue among the feedback the district received following last summer.
Furthermore, the district plans to work with Missouri Western to help grow the summer program by getting student teachers involved in the process.
“And we think it’ll be a good marketing technique for us as well. If they do have a good experience in summer school, then hopefully they would be interested in sticking around and teach with us for the next year,” Edgar said. “We are very appreciative that Missouri Western is going to partner with us to try to make this happen.”
The district also sent out RFPs (requests for proposal) regarding upgraded security cameras for their high schools in late August. Those requests were modified and sent out again due to the high price tags associated with some of the timelines that the SJSD put out coupled with the funds set aside for the project.
The district also is looking into possibly having an audit of the technology and operations at Troester Media Center to better understand where they stand while also identifying areas where they can better integrate that technology into a 21st-century classroom.