Park Hill board approves $245M budget

The Park Hill School District is enlisting members into a new advisory committee to look at school start times in the district.

After backing away from a previous plan to change school start times to address a shortage of bus drivers, the district commissioned a group to study sleep research in children and teens. That group completed its work last month and presented its findings to the board of education, which voted to develop a multi-tiered busing plan. The new advisory committee will make a recommendation to the district and the board to help with the creation of the plan, which would go into effect with the 2020-2021 school year.

Start times will not change for the coming school year. Based on feedback from parents, staff, students and the community, the board opted to not move forward with a plan that was presented earlier this year.

“The board and the district care deeply about our families, and we hear what they are telling us,” superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd said at the time. “We still have a problem to solve, and I believe we can all solve it together.”

Applications for the new advisory group are accepted through Wednesday, July 3 and the board will appoint members at its Thursday, July 25 meeting. The timeline for meetings and criteria and measures for evaluating the options will also be determined.

The board also recently approved a $245,620,817 budget for the 2019-2020 school year. This includes $60,498,113 from bond proceeds for projects like the construction of new schools and maintaining existing schools. Dr. Paul Kelly, assistant superintendent for business services, said with expected revenues of $179,636,787, the district will use a portion of its reserves to cover expenses. This move has been anticipated, but the board has also discussed limiting future spending to keep reserves at a healthy balance.

Breakfast prices were also increased for the coming school year. Elementary breakfast will go from $1.25 to $1.50, secondary breakfast will go from $1.50 to $1.75, premium secondary breakfast will go from $1.65 to $1.90, and à la carte milk will go from 50 to 60 cents.