Concessions stave off deficit for West Branch

BELOIT- The West Branch school board Thursday night approved an updated financial forecast that reflects the savings created by union concessions earlier this year.

The board approved the five-year forecast update submitted by Treasurer Daniel Telzrow which shows a cash balance surplus of nearly $727,000, which falls to a deficit $1.96 million by 2018. The October forecast projected a $3,000 deficit in spending this year, growing to over $3.4 million in 2018.

Telzrow credited the teacher and classified staff unions for their concessions in their recent contracts, as well as the frugalness of the district’s administrations, for helping address the financial constraints under which the district is operating, but noted that challenges still exist.

“[The deficit spending] multiples in the years moving forward and the challenges continue to be there,” he said.

The updated forecast predicts a positive cash balance through 2017 then dips to a $1.2 million deficit in 2018. October’s forecast showed $6 million deficit in 2018, hence the levy attempt the past two elections.

In other business the board accepted donations totaling nearly $40,000 including $10,000 each for the Tillie Sanor and Lowell Sanor scholarships from the Tillie Sanor Estate and the fertilization and core-aeration of the high school and middle school football fields from Smith Landscaping. The board also accepted the donation of over $18,000 in technology from the University of Mount Union that the district had procured through a grant in collaboration with UMU, Louisville and Alliance three or four years ago.

Also at the meeting the board approved the hire for 2014-2015 of the following teachers non-renewed last month: Bergen Bauman, kindergarten; Madeleine Clendenin, French; Beth Cooley, high school math; Mary Jo Kidd, high school English; Krista Roe, middle school science; Andrea Soltis, elementary; Karen Coffee, elementary; McKenzie Wallace, high school English; Elizabeth Hall, registered nurse; Kristen Bartolotta, speech pathologist; Kathryn Sivula-Bowman, intervention specialist; Abigail Fox, intervention specialist; Emily Gunning, intervention specialist; Heather McMasters, intervention specialist; Kelly Vrable, intervention specialist.

The board also hired as intervention specialists for 2014-2015 Jessica Wormald, Emily Fox and Kailyn Mowery; accepted the resignations of Leatta Davis as cook’s helper and Suzanne Biery as educational aide; and granted continuing classified contracts to custodians Kelly Ludwig, Barry Pash and Joseph Rice and secretary Rhonda Moffett.

Also at the meeting schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart recognized the high school for receiving a bronze award from the U.S. News and World Report on being listed in America’s Best High Schools in 2014.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 26 in the high school media center.