GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County School District Board continues to discuss potential purchases for this school year. The board met for a special meeting and work session on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m.
The board accepted the resignation of Sara Foster, special education teacher for Torrington High School (THS), effective at the end of the school year. The motion passed by majority, with an opposing vote from Chairman Mark Jespersen.
The board approved contracting with High Pointe Electric for the THS elevator modernization project, for $259,725.
Also approved, for $157,865.78, was the purchase of 150 replacement student laptops and 25 replacement district staff laptops
Superintendent Ryan Kramer said the laptops were a pre-purchase, “planning for the future of what would be general fund expenditures in later years.”
Purchasing replacement visitor section bleachers for the Lingle football field was approved. The bleachers will be bought from Belson Outdoors for $38,045.
“Being a person that has sat on those bleachers for about 40 years, yay,” Board Clerk Kerry Bullington said.
A replacement vehicle purchase for the Southeast agriculture program was approved. The new vehicle is a 2021 F250 pickup for $41,424.56 from Fremont Motors. Transportation Supervisor Donna Bath said the vehicle currently being used is a model from 2003. Bath said they had been in search of a safer, more dependable vehicle for travel, with fewer miles.
Another replacement vehicle was approved. The district will purchase a 2021 Ford Explorer from Laramie Peak Motors for $40,424.56. This vehicle will be used as the superintendent’s vehicle. His current vehicle will become the transportation supervisor’s vehicle.
“The one that I’m using presently is a 2003. It’s got 118,000 miles. I would feel better, when I’m out at three o’clock in the morning checking roads, to have something in a little better condition,” Bath said.
Bath said they had inquired with Transwest Ford for both replacements; however, they did not have the vehicles the district was looking for.
After this, the board entered a work session for discussion of the preliminary district budget and funding.
First, Business Manager Marcy Cates gave an update on the present year’s budget.
Many of the items the district had budgeted for were not spent, like the costs associated with travel and some activities, for example.
“That created the district, a position that we’ve not been in, as long as I’ve been here, where we’re tasked with needing to spend money,” said Cates.
Cates said the last four agenda items – computers, bleachers and the two vehicles – are part of this task to spend money.
“We are going to be under spending revenue by $565,000,” Cates said. This gets the district down to 16% of carryover. Anything over 15% goes back to the state, Cates reminded the board.
“The number you’re going to see me focusing on tonight is $865,000,” Cates said. “That will put us at a 14% carryover, and it gives us that 1% cushion.”
The board discussed the potential expenditures, suggesting additional bleachers replacements, sign-on bonuses and future discussions on salary relations. The challenging part of planning upcoming purchases is that the item must be received before the end of June, said Kramer. This is why suggestions like pre-buying food services or hotel rooms would not count for this year.
Cates said the district was hoping budget carryover would be increased to 30%, but it stayed at 15%.
Jespersen said, “we’re not just spending money to spend money.” He said he appreciates the diligence of the district in making smart decisions with how they will spend the money.
Kramer said each school provided them with a list of potential expenditures that would be bought within the next couple of years.
Cates said, “other districts are doing the exact same things we’re doing.”
The 2021-2022 budget must be presented to the board prior to the third Wednesday of July, according to Cates.
For the preliminary budget, revenue is projected at about $29,769,687 and expenses are currently budgeted at $28,932,638.
The unknowns the district will be facing next year are the recalibration of education funding, CARES dollars, Medicaid reimbursement, special education and transportation, said Cates.
“It’s a unique time for education funding,” said Cates.
Lastly, the board discussed their plans for teacher appreciation week, which is next week. The board will deliver cakes to the schools, to celebrate teachers, next Friday.
The meeting adjourned around 8:15 p.m.