ELDRED — At this week’s meeting, the Otto-Eldred School board received an update on the budget and audit reporting from Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro.

For the 2018-19 school year, the district expenses decreased 1%. Funding increased approximately 1%, which consisted of mostly state sources. Considering all fund balances, the district saw a drop of about $126,000. That included a capital reserve transfer of $100,000, meaning about $26,000 of fund balance was needed to balance the budget. The cafeteria fund has maintained a small surplus over the last few years, allowing the district to purchase updated serving equipment that was failing. No instances of noncompliance were noted by Buffamate Whipple Buttafaro.

Administrative reporting included updates from both elementary and high school side. Principal of Elementary and Special Education, Lindsay Burns, announced that a Community School Based Behavioral Health team (CSBBH) will be starting at the Otto-Eldred Elementary School in February. Beacon Light will be running this program in-house to continue to help meet the needs of students. Burns also announced that Special Education report card has been made public. The district is higher than the state average in identifying students as well as individual disability categories.

High School Principal Harley Ramsey, reported on solutions for industrial arts and science. He recommended that they advertise for an agricultural education teacher with a general science certificate. With the announcement of current science teacher Tim Decker’s retirement at end of school year, this will allow for the coverage of his current teaching load and offer agricultural mechanics electives as a suitable replacement for industrial arts.

Ramsey also reported that there will possibly be three dropouts this academic year. None are seniors, and it’s noted that he has worked within the parameters set forth by statute to prevent them; however, some root-cause concerns are outside of the school’s control. Ramsey noted that having a dedicated social worker for the district could be beneficial to bridging home and school gaps that influence attendance and academic achievement.

Ramsey announced that two students were accepted for a foreign exchange program — one to Japan, and one to Finland. “This is a remarkable opportunity for students. As global awareness becomes more critical, it’s necessary for our students to have a better understanding of the world they will enter as adults,” Ramsey noted.

In professional and support staffing, Thomas Karek and Alexis Reitler were approved as substitute teachers. Mark Miller was approved as an after school high school cafeteria monitor. Heather Baker was approved as a substitute aide and cafeteria staff. A sabbatical request was submitted by Zia Rios and accepted. Denise Distrola was approved as a long-term substitute at elementary filling this vacancy. A resignation was accepted from Chelsey Murray as the head coach of track and field.

A volunteer list for sports teams were approved as listed: Chelsey Murray (track and field), Kayla Johnson (Jr. High Basketball), Donna Veilleux, Shawn Rounsville, Dennis Hendershot and Duane Wolfe (softball). Mike Miller was approved to be a volunteer game manager for the upcoming Nippers Basketball Tournament.

Other announcements included a special school board meeting which will be held on Feb. 4th at 6:30 in the Elementary Technology Center. This will be a non-voting work session discussing improvements to extra-curricular rules and responsibilities. Report cards will be distributed on Jan. 17. Also, there will be an in-service day held on Jan. 20 and students will not have school.