• Megann Horstead

Summit Hill D161 officials review tentative budget for FY 2018


The Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education met on the evening of Aug. 23 for a presentation on its tentative budget for fiscal year 2018, as well as review the progress of the summer bridge program.

The preliminary budget was updated, and it will be on display for a month at the district office for review.

Doug Wiley, the district’s director of business and transportation wrote in an Aug. 25 email that the revenue and expenditures for the district’s total operating budget are $34,366,874 and $35,327,114, respectively.

“The fiscal 2018 budget includes only 2 categorical payments from the state,” Wiley said. “That is the primary reason why the operating funds are showing expenditures greater than revenues.”

As in years past, staff salaries and benefits continue to be the biggest expenditures in the district’s budget, as well as maintenance to buildings and student transportation.

At the conclusion of fiscal year 2018, the district anticipates ending with $18,374,211.

Wiley said the district is still trying to determine how they ended fiscal year 2017.

To date, the District has four bond issues outstanding with the last one being paid off in 2027 and does not anticipate issuing any new debt in the near future.

A public hearing is set for Wednesday, Sept. 27, with board approval of the budget pending at that time, as well.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Barb Rains took a moment to update the board on the district’s curriculum.

Rains reported that members of the community will not find any changes to the district’s 75/25 grading procedure.

“Seventy-five percent of the students overall grade will come from summative assessments, and 25 percent will come from formative assessments,” she said. “We will continue meeting with the team and with our parent advisory on assessment and grading throughout the year.”

Another initiative Rains highlighted was the use of curricular checklists.The English Language Arts and Math committees are working to complete new kindergarten through eighth-grade quarterly topic checklists.

“There was a lot of progress made this summer by several of our committee members, and the new checklists will better represent the scope of topics taught at each grade level,” Rains said. “It also will add some consistency [curriculum-wise in grades] K-8.”

Board checks in on summer bridge program

Officials examined students’ progress and findings from parent and staff surveys on the district’s summer bridge program.

“We are going to explore options for extending the time and the length of this [summer bridge] program for the next school year,” Rains said.

Forty children participated in this year’s program, which ran from July 31 to Aug. 10. The summer bridge program received more buy-in from the community, according to Director of Curriculum John Snipes.

Rains said moving forward, the district will continue to run the program and pursue grants to support students who need this assistance.

Extended school year program called a success

To support students who have skill deficits and could benefit from related services, the district examined its extended school year program.

In its third year, more than 80 eligible students participated. The district also reviewed survey findings from parents and staff members.

“Overall, again it was a very successful program,” Rains said.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Mary Drew Administration Center in Frankfort.

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