The Park Hill Board of Education has adopted that district’s largest budget to date at more than $253 million in expenditures.
The board unanimously approved next year’s budget, which is based on preliminary tax income numbers reported to date by the state and county, at the Thursday, June 21 regular meeting. The 2018-2019 tax levy will be set in August, but is expected to stay flat at $5.40 per $100 assessed valuation.
Assistant superintendent Dr. Paul Kelly presented the budget, which encompasses about $199 million in revenues and $164 million in operational expenditures.
“This is the largest Park Hill budget a board has ever been asked to approve, so this is a big deal,” Kelly said.
The district currently has two schools under construction – Walden Middle School and Hopewell Elementary School. A third construction project is on the horizon, with preliminary site plans for the LEAD innovation center also presented later at the same meeting. Construction will also begin on the support services and transportation facility.
Park Hill employees will see 2.5 percent increases in salary and an increase in benefits contributions. Dependent on actual enrollment growth, the district anticipates the possibility of hiring new teachers, with another bump in jobs expected as the district prepares to open Walden and Hopewell.
The board established a guideline of maintaining a July 1 operating fund balance between 18 to 22 percent of the district’s prior year operating expenditures. The 2018-2019 budget has been prepared with an expectation of concluding the budget year with an operating balance of $32.6 million or 21.4 percent.
Applications are now being accepted for the redistricting committee, and are available on the website at parkhill.k12.mo.us. The deadline for application is Friday, July 20. Committee members will be approved by the board at the Thursday, Aug. 9 meeting and the first meeting held Monday, Aug. 13. A full schedule of committee meetings, including two planned public forums, is available on the website.
Redistricting criteria have been approved, and include balancing enrollment, considerations of transportation distance and safety, maintaining subdivisions, balancing socio-economic factors and minimizing attendance area changes.
The committee will make its recommendations to the board of education in late fall with approval of the final redistricting plan expected in December.
LEAD CENTER DESIGN
The board also heard a report from Hollis + Miller architects on the preliminary site plan design for the LEAD Innovation Center, an alternative high school program created in part to alleviate crowding at the two high schools. LEAD currently occupies a leased space in the Interstate 29 corridor, but a facility is slated for construction near Hopewell Elementary School. The LEAD building will be designed with an eye toward expanding it into a third district high school should enrollment continue to rise.
Architects presented two rough designs, dubbed “crisscross” and “airplane.” The site plan goal is to minimize the footprint of the building in the forest, while creating a clear plan for future expansion. Both plans contain at least two-story structures with the potential to be built upward instead of outward. Plans are available on the district website, and architects plan to move forward with a more complete design in the coming weeks.
LEAD is not expected to open until August 2020.