School Board invites public input
State cuts to affect local schools
Steve Gookins addressed the financial challenges facing Milan
in the coming year due to budget cuts by the state at the regular
board meeting on Monday, January 18. According to Gookins, he
is currently looking into all operational costs to find ways to
reduce spending to accommodate these cuts.
A citizens checklist created by the Indiana State Board
of Education was given to board members and those attending the
meeting. Patrons, teachers, administrative staff, and the board
members were encouraged to use the checklist to provide valuable
feedback for prospective cuts in areas such as extra-curricular
offerings; salary freezes; or summer school.
For example, Gookins estimates a possible savings of $70,000 if
a salary freeze is instituted. Also, he suggested reducing the
number of extracurricular programs stating that he feels that
Milan has more sports programs than the school can afford.
His research has found that there are areas that are already cost
efficient such as the schools membership in the health consortium,
which provides employee health insurance at a lower rate than
offered by the state. Also, the high school has initiated a credit
recovery program via the Indiana Virtual Academy at no cost to
the student or the school.
In light of the upcoming budget cuts, Gookins said, We need
to look at this as an opportunity to be more efficient.
The 1028 hearing for the elementary remodel project was presented
by corporation attorney Larry Eaton. According to Eaton, the board
worked very diligently to keep the project costs to a minimum,
repairing only what needed to be done.
The corporation applied for and received permission to offer bonds
at a low interest rate. The purchase of the bonds will fund the
project. The motion to adopt the resolution to offer the bonds
and take steps to begin the project was unanimously approved.
There will be a pre-bid meeting on January 28 for interested bidders.
The board unanimously approved the drawings. The specs will be
available at the administration office and will be accepted through
The motion to establish a rainy day fund was unanimously approved.
According to Gookins, the corporation does not currently have
a rainy day fund. The funds may be used towards proper operational
In other business:
The board unanimously approved maternity leave for Chris
Bushhorn and the extended leave for Kristen Cost.
The instructors for the tutorial and remediation programs
were unanimously approved.
The school board was recognized by the Indiana School Board
Association as an outstanding board.
All board members were in attendance. The next meeting will be
held on Monday, February 15 beginning at 7 p.m. at the administration