The financial year 2012 Audit Report Draft was presented to board members at the Sept. 18 Mabel-Canton regular school board meeting.

The audit report, presented by Jason Boynton, a representative from Smith Schafer Associates LTD, began with a general overview of the audit procedure.

Specific areas of change were targeted considering the declining enrollment and corresponding declining revenues. It was pointed out that the student number changes required continued expenditure review to match the changing revenues.

The largest budgeted expense is the cost of regular instruction, in excess of $1.5 million.

General fund expenditures exceeded revenues by $52,131 for 2012. The unassigned general fund balance as of June 30, 2012, is 22.7 percent of current expenditures.

The food service fund expenditures exceeded revenues by $4,924 as of the end of June 2012.

Community service fund expenditures exceeded revenues by $29,829 for 2012.

It was noted that these are part of a budget plan to reduce fund balances.

Following the presentation and review of the handouts, approval was given to the 2012 audit report draft.

The 2012 payable 2013 proposed tax levy was also reviewed by the board. The proposed dollar amount was down about $18,000 from the 2011 payable 2012 budget. Superintendent Mike Moriarty attributed the reduction to the decreased cost of the unemployment insurance levy and also to the reduction in the tunnel project repairs as well as refunding bonds and debt service decrease.

It was also noted the debt service levy has five years to go after this year's funding.

Approval was given to the 2012 payable 2013 levy of $847,600, down 2.08 percent from the 2011 payable 2012 amount of $855,619.

During the budget discussions, clarification of the open enrollment funding was requested. Moriarty noted the funds that were raised by the district stay with that district; state funding stays with the student, regardless of the district residency.

Annual report

The superintendent discussed the required Annual Report of Curriculum and Instruction before requesting board approval. This report is released each year summarizing student testing and curriculum goals. Numbers in the report reflect the prior year results.

Moriarty stated that copies of the report are available at the school office as well as on the school website if members of the community request the information. Approval was given to the annual report.

Online courses

Contract approval was given to the Joint Powers Agreement - Southwest Service Coop, which continues to offer online courses. Students from outside the district enroll in classes and the district does receive some funds, which are beneficial in defraying the costs of the courses.

Teachers in the district participating in the online class offerings are Jessica Hahn-Miller, Michelle Wiedeman and Bonnie Wenthold.

Personnel

Staffing items approved by the board included hiring Sandy Benson to fill the four-hour per day, part-time custodian vacancy due to the retirement of Ellen Aasum.

The board also approved maternity leave for first grade teacher Kelsey Morken, beginning Dec. 1, and for band director Katie Larson, around the same time of the year. Advertising will be done to fill the positions.

Moriarty also submitted his resignation letter, effective June 30, 2013. The resignation letter was accepted with thanks to Moriarty for his service to the district. A transition committee will be set up due to the need to fill the superintendent's position.

A committee to work on negotiations regarding the review of the principal's contract, which was up June 30, 2012, will be set up as well.

Moriarty presented the list of bus drivers for board approval. It was noted the drivers are employees of Schmidt Bus Services. In discussion it was also reported that there is health screening required by the bus company for its employees. Approval was given to the list of drivers.

Playground and other improvements

There was also discussion on the playground equipment improvements. It was noted $7,500 of the improvements can be written off to Health and Safety budget items. The PALS group is also seeking additional support from the community to fund the ground cover to go under the new piece of equipment that was donated by the group. Various other service groups were mentioned in the discussion as potential contributors. The improvements were viewed as not only an improvement to the school, but also a community benefit since the area is used outside of school hours as well. Approval was given to proceed with the project.

It was reported that the window panel replacement has neared completion with $500 withheld until the corner repair is completed.

Mud jacking of the tennis court and skating rink was discussed; the ends of the court need repairing. It was suggested that this project wait until spring for completion.

Reports

In the superintendent's report, Moriarty summarized the enrollment report, stating there are 256 total students, 19 open enrolled into the district, including 11 open enrolled students from North Winneshiek. He noted that there is one tuition student at Fillmore Central and 45 students open enrolled out of the Mabel-Canton district.

There were some questions as to home schooled procedure. Moriarty stated that some of those students use the Hope Christian Academy at a cost or can use district books. Online curriculum with MMVA - Houston was also mentioned as part of this discussion as another alternative educational opportunity.

Principal Jeff Nolte told the board in his report that back to school night was very productive and well attended.

Technological changes for the students were touched upon with more Google capabilities now being utilized and at home access of online textbooks was explained. There is expanded e-reader usage with four available in every classroom.

Students at the sophomore level now have netbooks, currently now used in the school only. A check-out point and overnight charging area is set up and their usage is being monitored with the existing technology policy being enforced.

Nolte reported the positive behavior project continues to be a priority, with positive interventions and reduction of negative behaviors encouraged.

Staff attended a TLC seminar on Monday, Sept. 24, providing the opportunity to share ideas and pair with teachers of the same position from other districts. This is the first of two days of collaboration currently scheduled.

Food service

The food service government mandated changes that have been implemented were discussed. Some of the changes include more appropriate-sized servings and increased availability of healthy fruit and vegetable choices. Some additional options include the addition of a sack lunch option and breakfast for lunch.

Small items

The list of fundraisers and field trips was submitted to the board for review. Nolte mentioned there are some changes but the number is about the same. He also noted the staff tries to limit the fundraisers as much as possible. Approval was given to the list.

The bi-annual renewal of the field placement agreement for student teachers with St. Mary's College was also approved.

Both the principal and superintendent agreed that the school year is off to a good start. Appreciation was expressed to the teachers, bus drivers and support staff for the smooth start to the 2012-13 school year. Nolte attributed part of the smooth start to the consistency of the staff with few changes being necessary.