In a very unusual online setting, the Jeff Tech Operating Committee approved its 2020-2021 budget totaling $9.45 million dollars while broadcasting the meeting on its YouTube channel.
During the director’s report, Dr. Barry Fillman and Business Manager Sherry Hasselman presented information on why the package topped last year’s budget of $8.7 million dollars. The increases came from three areas: special education, security, and the contingency fund.
In the next school year, Jeff Tech will provide its own special education services, services that had been provided by the DuBois Area School District. The cost for that comes to $870, 865. The program will include an emotional support position. It will not include physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. Those will be provided by the home districts.
Because of this change, a resolution on how special education services are paid by the four sending districts (Brookville, DuBois, Brockway, Punxsutawney) will be included in the budget package sent to those districts for approval.
The school will also contract for security services at a cost of $20,000, and it will increase its contingency fund from $40,000 in 2019-2020 to $80,000 in 2020-2021. Dr. Fillman said this increase would cover unknown costs related to special education. To offset that increase, the school reduced the equipment budget and plans to look for alternative sources of funding for that item.
“Over the past several years, we worked very hard to find other funding and to purchase equipment to get us in line with industry standards,” Dr. Fillman said.
The presentation also included a spreadsheet for capital projects for the next five years, from the summer of 2021 to 2026.
“This continuous planning is an important part of limiting long-range costs,” Dr. Fillman said.
The committee approved the budget and related items unanimously and will send them to the sending districts for their consideration.
In other action, the committee approved a policy change relating member participation via electronic means. The old policy said that no more than two members can be a part of a meeting by phone or internet, but the COVID-19 crisis has changed all of that, so the committee changed its policy to allow for regular meetings to be held electronically.
Graduation for the Class of 2020 was set for May 29. Dr. Fillman some kind of virtual celebration will be held that day, either by Facebook or YouTube. However, he added that there will be an attempt to hold an actual ceremony at a later date.