School board to talk budget, school policies

Published 4:59 am Sunday, June 9, 2013

Graduation may have just finished, but the Austin Public Schools board is already looking to next year.

During its Monday evening meeting, the board will decide whether to approve a proposed $49.8 million budget for 2013-2014. State aid, which increases from last year in the proposed budget, will make up the vast majority of the district’s general fund, at about 86 percent. The local tax levy will take up the next largest portion, 7.4 percent, which right now would mean a decrease in taxes.

That amount isn’t fixed in place yet, said Superintendent David Krenz, and may still change before a levy is set in September and finalized in December. It’s too early to speculate how residents’ taxes will be affected.

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Federal aid and other sources of financing make up the remainder of the budget.

The general education funding per student for the coming school year would increase from $5,224 to $5,302. The student body is estimated to grow by 84 students to 4,595 average daily enrollment. Class sizes will remain about the same, and the equivalent of three more full-time teachers will be added.

The school board will also decide whether to approve the district’s health and safety budget for a three-fiscal-year period. The measure includes money for concerns including hazardous substance, asbestos and fire safety, and totals $301,000 for the fiscal year ending in 2013, $320,860 for 2014 and $365,250 for 2015.

I.J. Holton handbook

The board will also decide whether to approve the I. J. Holton Intermediate School student handbook. The document lists student expectations, school arrival and dismissal times and the schools “Habits of Mind,” a set of qualities including “curiosity” and “collaboration” to which students can refer.

Once the board approves the handbook, students and parents will be able to reference it for rules related to everything from behavior guidelines to dress code. Students may use cell phones and other personal electronic devices at the discretion of administrators and must put them away immediately at a staff member’s request.

The school opens to fifth- and sixth-graders in the fall.

 Other business:

During the meeting, the school board will also:

—Decide whether to accept a total of $2,705 in donations, which include $2,000 from the Woodson PTC for iPad apps and supplies, $500 from Cornerstone Assembly of God for Gifted and Talented STEM/Math Camp scholarships and $200 from Azteca Restaurant for supplies for the Mariachi Band.

—Decide whether to approve changes to the 2013-2014 AHS student agenda.

—Decide whether to approve a revised policy on health and safety.

—Have a first reading of revised policies on advertising, school board officers and school board agendas.