Summary of the Homer School District 33C
Finance & Operations Committee Meeting
February 21, 2017
Barb Wilson, President Angela Adolf, Vice President Amy Blank, Secretary
Deb Martin, Member Ed Campins, Member Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member Russ Petrizzo, Member
At the February 21st Finance & Operations Committee meeting:
- Christi Tyler, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business, presented the Committee with a list of February invoices and bills that were greater than $5,000 each. The majority were for utilities and out-of-district placement.
- Tyler updated the Committee on a bus leasing option that would enable the district to avoid a large capital outlay; refresh its entire fleet every 5 years; and reduce maintenance costs. The District received three quotes. Midwest Transit was the lowest bidder at $11,064 per 71-passenger bus and offered the District the most for its trade-ins ($2.23 million). The bid is slightly higher than preliminary estimates, but those estimates did not include GPS software, cameras or custom special education buses that enable users to remove all seats to accommodate wheelchairs. The Board will vote on the leasing option at its February 28, 2017 meeting. If the lease option is approved, administrators recommend the District update its eight remaining buses (which are not being traded-in) with GPS software and cameras.
- Tyler reviewed two software programs by SchoolDude that would simplify the District’s inventory system and streamline the way it schedules building usage by outside groups as well as teachers and staff. The inventory module would tie-in with the District’s current work ticket module and set minimum levels for re-ordering maintenance parts and cleaning supplies while tracking unit cost, vendor and location. The facility scheduling module would enable community groups and staff to reserve a room for meetings and/or activities electronically. Currently, facility usage requests are submitted via written applications.
- Jim Petrokas from TRIA Architects was present to answer questions regarding a facility audit proposal. If the Board decides to proceed with the facility audit, work will begin over Spring Break.
- Tyler presented an update on the District’s new food service program with Quest Food Management Services. Despite a few challenges in the beginning, including staffing, moving children through the lines quickly, purchasing a delivery truck that was not part of the original proposal and absorbing the delivery driver’s salary, the program is running smoothly. Participation has been greater than anticipated with 30.7 percent of students participating in November; 30.6 percent in December; and 28.7 percent in January. Nonetheless, the District often spends more than it takes in each month. Since August, when the program first began, the District has spent $48,308 more than it has taken in. It hopes to see that number go down — and even break even — as the program continues to develop and grow. It also hopes to recoup the $180,766.35 it spent up front on equipment (including ovens, refrigerators and delivery truck) in the next four to five years. In the meantime, it is working with Quest to address concerns that have arisen with some of the options — namely boxes of sugary cereal. Even though the cereal meets National School Lunch Program (NSLP) nutritional guidelines (with its sugar content falling below the limit of 35 percent) the District is working with Quest to reduce the sugary items and replace them with healthier options.
- Tyler presented an update on the FY17 Budget and compared expenses to this time last year. Overall, the District is performing under budget, spending $654,000 less than this time last year. It is halfway through the fiscal year and showing great fiscal responsibility by expending less than budgeted.
- Tyler reviewed a more robust finance/human resources software package that would simplify the process for monitoring department/building budgets; encumber expenses related to salaries and benefits; and make information more readily available for data analysis. The system is more expensive than the District’s current system (which dates back to 2008) but offers more flexibility and greater ease at gathering/tracking data.
The Next Regular School Board Meeting is February 28, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.