By Lew Vail
CORRIGAN -- The Corrigan-Camden School Board conducted a budget workshop prior to Tuesday night's meeting, with Superintendent Sherry Hughes reviewing the figures from the 2016-17 year.
She noted auditors are currently working on the official audit now, but the information now available shows the district to be in a good financial position with fund balances to cover three months of operation without any funds coming in. The tax collection was at 88.5 percent for the year. Enrollment was down during the past school year, with the year starting with 909 and ending with 848 students. Thus far, early enrolment is not predicting any significant increase.
With school funding still an issue and the legislature in special session, the board scheduled another workshop to be held prior to the Aug. 21 meeting.
When the regular meeting was called to order, Hughes reviewed the work completed with the bond funds and said there is a rather large punch list of items needing either completion or adjustment. The ag building is scheduled to be complete for the opening of school on Aug. 28.
In review of the utility expenses, Hughes reported that the district would drill a water well to provide for the athletic fields. The water expense using city water still is excessive. The district purchased fuel for the bus fleet, diesel still being the best fuel for buses.
Hughes also reported they have purchased two new buses, one specifically for the away events. The reason for the two was that buses delivered after Sept. 1, will have seatbelts. Having one come next year would present a problem as to who rode in the bus with the belts. The board now has time to evaluate what to do about the issue before it develops.
The principals of the three schools — elementary, junior high and senior high — essentially establish the student handbook, and are considering some changes for the coming term. One would be to allow facial hair. The board's primarily reaction was not in favor of this change, however, the spokesperson for the principals said it has become an issue more because neighboring district, Chester ISD, allows students to have facial hair.
Hughes said she polled the schools in the area and the policy varies.
There was also discussion regarding tattoos. They are considering easing the current "not shown" to allow them to be visible with the exception of those that are obscene, vulgar, threatening, involve gang signs or are offensive. The explanation is that times are changing; the new sports stars have body art on all parts of their body, movie personalities also sport visible artwork. If parents permit it, it should not cause a child to go to suspension or be fined for having visible tattoos. The official wording of these changes will be printed for student clarification when the handbook is distributed, on the school website, available at www.ccisdtx.net.
School will start with a new food service director, Debbie Huesae — call her Miss Debbie — who brings 20-plus years of experience in cafeteria management to the position. The same company is still operating the cafeteria, there is just a new face in management.
In reviewing the budget for the coming year, Hughes said the retirement of teachers and realignment of some classes appears to have helped reduce the proposed 20117-18 budget by close to $100,000. The board will work with a figure of $3,931,201, based on a projected student body of 800 (240 high schoolers). There is a $50,000 contingency fund for major issues, and one teacher's salary, which is not assigned, as a backup if anything occurs.
The board tabled reading of updates to the local police, educational material, and accepted the minutes of the June's meeting. The consent agenda covered the 4-H resolution, making it a sanctioned program under the "no pass, no play" rule. They also accepted grant funds for Texas Virtual Rural School Network. They approved a contract with Linebarger, Goggin, Blair, and Sampson for tax collection; the fees are covered in the state penalties for late payment. They renewed the workers compensating insurance for 2017-18.
The district has agreements for Big Sandy and Goodrich to use the DAEP building on a cooperative program. Each district will furnish transportation for their students and share the cost of the facility; which is owned by C-CISD.