Concerns cited, revisited

By Amanda Collins

Expenses and related tax increases topped a list of concerns shared with the Patrick County School Board at their meeting Thursday.

The amount of funds spent by the school division concerns Kurt Bozenmayer, who noted he has experienced tax increases on his farm property. He said he and his wife moved to Patrick County after retiring. He said they live on a fixed income and hope additional tax increases are not needed.

Nancy Carlson, a history teacher at Patrick County High School (PCHS), outlined several concerns, including the board’s plans for summer retreats. She said taxpayers have the right to know about the planned number of retreats, the location of the retreats, as well as estimated costs of each retreat.

Noting a meeting between Schools Superintendent Bill Sroufe and teachers, Carlson said she continues to view the division’s management practices as “top-down management.”

She said she did not know a committee was formed nor was she asked for input. Carlson also questioned the success of the initiative if teachers/staff are not involved.

Carlson renewed her requests that the 2017-‘18 school budget, the ‘17-‘18 revenue budget report, and the ‘17-‘18 expenditure budget report be added to the division’s website. She said it is her opinion the school division and county have separate audits. With the two entities lumped together, she said it is “virtually impossible” to tell how money is spent in the school division.

In other matters, the board:

*Discussed, but took no action, on changing the day and location of board meetings.

Scott suggested using a conference room in the Patrick County Veterans Administration Building, mainly “for security purposes.” It would cost $90 to have an officer on site at each meeting, he added.

Scott also suggested holding meetings on the first or third Monday of each month.

*Approved a resolution to support a small and rural schools coalition. The coalition will allow rural school divisions to come together to “enhance their collective voice in legislative and other matters,” Sroufe said when explain the resolution. There is no cost associated with the resolution to support the creation of a Small and Rural Schools Coalition.

*Sroufe presented data for the “Patrick County Financial Story,” which included an informational summary of other similar localities.

The salary for elementary school teachers is slightly below the average and secondary teachers are slightly above average but that may be due to tenure.

Sroufe said Patrick County has a good school district that performs well even though the budget isn’t where it should be.

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