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Superintendent James Neihof could not discuss test scores during the Shelby County Board of Education meeting on Thursday, so he brought up another hot-button issue: school redistricting.
Based on next year’s opening of Southside Elementary, Neihof has had the district administration working on a plan to accommodate the expanded size of the new school. Its focus was to create feeder schools, marking three elementary schools to feed each middle school and in turn each high school.
The goal of the elementary committee was to alleviate crowded classrooms at the schools, but the goal of the secondary committee was to investigate the feeder structure, which was a big difference from the geography- and demography-based redistricting put in place with the opening of Collins High School.
“The committee concluded that a feeder school concept would cause an enrollment imbalance between the secondary schools,” he said.
So the group has recommended that the secondary lines stay the same, splitting students to different middle schools at both Painted Stone and Clear Creek Elementaries.
Neihof said he would schedule a work session at the next meeting, Oct. 10 at the district’s office, to study the recommendations.
“I believe when the district decided to reopen Southside, it created a redistricting policy that states parents will be notified of any changes by November,” he said. “Once your questions are answered, I will ask you to approve the plan.
“In November, we will begin implementation of the plan through letters and informational meetings with parents to explain any changes. The plan will go into place next school year.”
Working budget approved
The board made the final step in the 2013-14 budgeting process by approving the working budget.
The total general fund of recurring revenues for the year is estimated at about $55.4 million, with expenses coming in at $54.9 million, about $518,000 less.
District Director of Finance Greg Murphy reminded the board that although that number is closer than administrators would like, it is much better than it was when the process started in January.
“If you’ll remember, the budget was six hundred and ten thousand dollars over revenue,” he said. “But through the work of the budget committee, it has made a one-point-one million-dollar change.”
And that includes the board’s approval to spend $225,000 to fund two more professional development days for teachers and provide a 1.5 percent salary increase for certified personnel and a 3 percent increase for classified personnel.
Murphy also noted that of the General Fund for the 2013-14 school year, 84.6 percent is for salaries and benefits. That’s compared to 83.4 percent last year and 84.7 percent in the tentative draft in May.
The board heard updates from K. Norman Berry representative Harry Dumesnil on the Northside Early Childhood Center and Southside Elementary School construction projects.
At Southside, Dumesnil reported that stone has been placed in the parking and driving areas, and that a preliminary layer of asphalt soon would be placed. The interior foundation is complete, and the ICF walls are up for the first floor.
At Northside, he reported that the exterior stone and brickwork is wrapping up and that the drywall is about 90 percent hung inside. The roof is about 60 percent complete, and windows are beginning to be installed. Crews also have started ceramic tile work in the bathrooms and some painting.
Also at the meeting, the board: