Blue Ridge adopts preliminary budget

The Blue Ridge School Board presented the board’s student council representative Theresa Whitehead with a plaque in appreciation for her service to the board in the past year. Board member Joel Whitehead presented the plaque.

BY STACI WILSON

With no hard numbers from the state and a teacher’s contract still in negotiation, Blue Ridge moved forward at its May 23 meeting with the adoption of its preliminary budget for the 2011-12 school term.

The final school budget must be approved by June 30 and the preliminary budget must be available for the public to view for nearly one month prior to that date.

Revenue is projected to be $15,803,618 leaving nearly a one-half million dollar deficit in the upcoming budget. Total expenditures are expected to be $16,300, 898.

In search of savings in the district, the board approved the issuance of $2.3 million of general obligation bonds to be utilized for the district’s energy conservation program.

A performance contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. was approved. Johnson Controls conducted an energy audit in the schools and made recommendations of changes to the board.

The contract, said president Alan Hall, was only for the inside of the building and did not have to do with the wind feasibility study currently underway at the school campus.

A large chunk of the proposed energy-saving changes and upgrades will be handled directly by the school district providing additional cost savings.

Many technology and building upgrades are part of the energy conservation program and are covered by grant money.

Those funds, along with the bond issuance, remove money the district would have to come up with over the next few years for capital projects, said business manager Loren Small.

The board also approved a contract with Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit to provide special education services to the district in 2011-12.

Summer hours were approved for Barbara McCain, acting special education director; guidance counselors Jessica Boyko, Susan Cawley, Angel Sincavage and Jamie Torrence; Christine Morrison and Donna Tewes. The hours worked will be at the superintendent’s discretion and approval.

The next board meeting will be held June 13, at 7:30 p.m., in the elementary school cafeteria.