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Ludlow Schools Have Healthy Budget, More Students

The Ludlow School Board voted to finalize the working budget for the year at their regular meeting Thursday night. The total working budget of $8,165,155 is broken down into the general fund, at $6,261,900, Special Revenue which is $790,571, Capital Outlay which is $76,500, Building Fund, which at $268,717 is supposed to match the Debt Service and does, and Food Service which comes in at $498,750.
In January the budget was first presented to the board, according to state law, and it was tentatively approved in May. Since then there were a few minor changes, and the finished budget was presented Thursday night.
“We have a healthy bank balance of $1.5 million,” said Superintendent Mike Borchers.
“We had a slight increase in salary and revenue which caused an adjustment to the general fund, but there isn’t much change from the version we saw in May.”
Attendance is reportedly slightly up by 13 students district-wide, and that breaks down to 16 new students in the elementary school and 3 less students in the high school. Borchers said he likes the trend of more elementary students because that usually means the increase will follow to the high school. The third grade at Mary A. Goetz Elementary is currently the largest class at 80 students, whereas the other grades come in at 60 and 70 students.
Because of a Twenty First Century grant obtained by the district for $150,000 a year for five years, the district was able to offer the Shine program, a before and after school program which allows students to have supervised activities if they have to come to school early and stay until a parent arrives after work. The program was advertised throughout the summer and the result is a full boat of students who can take advantage of the variety of subjects offered on a six week basis. The school has partnered with Childrens Inc. for the program. Yoga is offered in the morning, but after school the children have pre-selected activities such as cooking, herpetology, watercolor, robotics, history, math, and seasonal crafts, to name a few. These are in addition to the help the children receive with homework and the snack provided to the students. The program is free of charge thanks to the grant.
The board also voted to approve three fundraising events, the junior class and market day pies, the school walkathon, and the king of court powder puff game. In addition, four substitute teachers were approved­­­Dennis Bell, Debra Meyers, Susan Taylor and Nancy Dornheggen.
High School Principal Travis Caudill outlined a new program for recognizing the good behavior of high school students which comes under the acronym PBIS, or Positive Behavior Instructive Support.
“Every kid in the building is eligible,” said Caudill. “We will recognize as many as 40 to 50 students each quarter. They will be treated to something nice.”
The renovation on James Rigney Memorial Stadium is almost totally completed, and board member Cindy Powell had a few suggestions, such as putting a baby changing station in the women’s restroom, fixing some wobbly tables, which has been done, and to take down some of the business advertisements on the scoreboard which are no longer in business. Borchers assured her he would look into the improvements.
Borchers said the new track would be ready for the traffic from the Homecoming parade last Friday, which was followed by the game and the dance, a sock hop.
“We are very fortunate that we have two parades in one week,” said Borchers, referring to the Sesquicentennial parade on Saturday and the homecoming parade on Friday. “How many cities can claim that?”
Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor