A clean audit that shows the Salem R-80 school district in solid financial shape was presented to the school board at its November meeting.

The district ended the last school year with roughly $4.9 million in reserves, down from $5.1 million the previous year, according to CPA Matthew L. James, who conducted the audit. He attributed the decrease to “a tremendous amount of capital expenditures” for building improvements.

Capital projects totaled nearly $1 million, resulting in a $276,000 impact on reserves. The district’s total net position at the end of June was $4,883,675, with $212,058 restricted for debt service.

The $13.9 million budget included $7.49 million in salaries, $2.33 million in employee benefits, $1.06 million for purchased services, $1.76 million for supplies, $955,865 for capital outlay and $288,298 for bond payments.

The property tax levy is at $3.20, including 45 cents for debt service, and has been at that figure for many years, James noted. Assessed valuation for 2018 was at $70,089,776, up about $1.4 million from the prior year.

“That translates to $43-$44,000 in tax income,” he said. “That’s a benefit, a nice help for the district.”

The only debt is bonds, with the balance at $3,685,000 after $215,000 in payments in the year ended June 30. Annual payments will grow from $215,000 to $275,000 over the life of bonds, which James called “very manageable.” The bonds expire in 2033.

Tuition from sending districts totaled $1.964 million for 2018-19. Revenues from all sources are “extremely consistent,” with only a $21,000 difference the last two years, James said.

The only finding of material weakness in the audit was in segregation of duties.

“From an accounting standpoint, you don’t want one person handling one transaction from start to finish,” he told the board. “It’s very difficult not to do that in a smaller district” because it is not generally cost effective to add more staff.

He noted that the school board reviews all disbursements each month and administrators are in the office daily watching transactions.

The audit also showed an increase in average daily attendance that will help the district financially with state aid and showed increased efficiency in transportation, with buses running fewer miles and transporting more students, he said.

The board voted to accept the audit later in the meeting.

In other action, the board approved election filing dates of Dec. 17 to Jan. 21 for next April’s election of members and accepted the resignation of Jenni Summers from middle school cheerleading.

The board also heard a report on the new Blue Crew basketball season pass program suggested by the athletic advisory committee. Board liaison Larry Maxwell said season passes are being sold to students and adults at a discount, and they also receive a free t-shirt that serves as their ticket into games.

Students can buy the passes for $20 and adults for $35, a $10 discount, athletic director Phil Karr said. The program is being implemented on a trial basis.

“Overall we think the gate will be just as good,” Maxwell said. “They’re paying a fee about half of what they would pay for every game but not coming to every game, so we think the gate will be very respectable and maybe even more than we get now.”

Board member Chris Heavin said he had been approached by a basketball booster concerned about competition from the shirts to the booster club’s own shirt sales. Superintendent John McColloch said he also received complaints from boosters.

Advisory committee member Nick Gover said there was no negative feedback from boosters in attendance at the meeting where the season passes shirts were discussed. He said the committee was looking for another community support initiative and came up with the t-shirts.

“It happened to land during basketball,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t intended to compete with booster clubs.”

Karr, who set up the program, said the idea is to increase student involvement. “In my mind I wanted to make it a good enough deal, not compete against anyone,” he said.

Heavin said he wasn’t aware the passes were already being sold and asked that the board be kept better informed.

SHS principal Marty Anderson said he would do so. Anderson called the initiative in line with the advisory committee’s mission and urged booster club members to get involved and attend committee meetings.

Principals’ Reports

William Lynch

• The PBS Theme is “Bright futures begin with safe, respectful learners.”

• Students of the Month are Gwendolyn Curley, Harper Larimore, Gemma Barton, Emilia Esquivel, Finnegan Cahill, Grady Schafer, Fynnlee Elliott, Mason Moravec, Josalinn Martin, Frankie Presley, Jase Prugh, Westin Stites, Billy Nash, Blayne Bolerjack, Anthony Ruble.

• The October Spotlight Assembly was successful. Special guests were members of the SHS Lady Tiger softball team.

• The Friends of William Lynch Fall Carnival was well attended despite the cold weather. The school appreciates the support and fun this organization provides.

• First grade students completed the ¼-Mile Run.

• Students earned a Flashlight Party with their safe, respectful behavior.

• The Veterans Day assembly to honor veterans was very well attended. Mrs. Phelps and her choir did an amazing job performing for them.

• WLE Advisory Committee will meet on Dec. 2 in the cafeteria and discuss the various programs such as PBS, Collaborative Literacy, Envision Math, Friends of Wm. Lynch and funding.

• An Eye Clinic for students was held Nov. 21.

• Food Drive was held through Friday, Nov. 22

• The Christmas Program will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at New Harmony Baptist Church.

• Current enrollment is 274: PK-64, K-119, 1-91. Proportional attendance rate is 91.31%.

Upper Elementary

• UE had 95.2% of its students attending 90% of the time through the month of October. There are currently 335 enrolled.

• October Students of the Month include: 2nd grade-Hailey Rector, Emmett Robbins, Marcella Aspinwall, Chloe Yerk, Kingston Crockett, Eva Schlag, Grace Taylor and Brooklyn Bieker; 3rd grade-Chad Burns, Brinkley Tripp, Brayden Ganschinietz, Nicholas Hardecke, Walker Smith, Kaitlyn Pontious, Audrey Paine-Manjarrez, and Alexander Johnston; 4th grade-Addy Summers, Kolton Evans, Harlie Click, Titus White, Addi Bass, Levi Pogue, Mayrin Ramirez-Briceno, and Gracie Mendenhall; 5th grade-Brooke McColloch, Ellie Headrick, Luke Pryor, Haley Yerk, Levi Halbrook, Peyton McMullin, Dalli Johnson, and Seth Moore.

• Upper Elementary had 98% of its parents attend conferences or conference over the phone with teachers about their child’s progress in school.

• Students recently collected 1,259 box tops. The 5th graders collected the most, 521, and earned a pizza party to celebrate.

• UE recently held a fall Book Fair with Scholastic with a good crowd of families and students who purchased books.

• The Veterans Day Program was a huge success under the direction of Shannon Phelps. The weather caused it to be rescheduled, but the students picked right up and performed well to honor veterans.

• UE hosted a food drive through Nov. 20 to provide food to His Place call “From Our Place to His Place.” The class with the most ounces of food collected wins a hat day.

• Students are enjoying our monthly celebrations of announcing Students of the Month, acknowledging students and classes with 100 and 150 tickets, and a celebration activity to end. The last was a balloon popping with bottoms only in teams and was quite funny.

Middle School

• Students of the Month were 6th grade, Jenna Piatt; 7th, Jade Rathun; 8th, Lillian Dinger.

• 90.5% of students attended 90 percent of the time in October.

• The past month included Red Ribbon Week activities, a Thanksgiving food drive, Christmas door decorating and a backpack drive.

High School

• Malia Terrill gave the student liaison report

• Students of the month were Jack Keith and Brooke Plank

• A total of 92.3% attended school 90 percent of the time.

• Enrollment is at 560.

• Assistant principal Conrad Prugh provided an update to the A+ handbook

• SHS received a $4,050 Workforce Development Grant for 150 students to take the WorkKeys test.

• The school is retesting 23 seniors on the ASVAB Dec. 13.