ROACHDALE -- At its monthly meeting on Thursday, the North Putnam School Board celebrated the accomplishments of students with cake and the careers of retiring faculty members with kind words.
However, they did not celebrate over the school's finances.
"I personally find it insulting that we would receive information like this without any explanation," board member John Hays said.
The information the board received was the March General Fund cash flow management sheet, a document that shows past spending, future projected spending, and a total budget.
"I'm sure we can get an explanation," said Superintendent Mary Sugg-Lovejoy. "The numbers changed a bit, as they always do."
Earlier this month, the school corporation learned from the state that North Putnam would receive about $10.3 million for its general fund. They had previously been appropriated to spend up to $11 million.
In itself, this was not a problem. In cash flow sheets from previous months, the school was projected to have more than $1 million in the general fund at the end of the year.
The cause for concern by board members was a change in the document's projected spending that resulted in a smaller year-end total of $86,000.
For April, corporation treasurer Tanya Pearson said she decided to adjust the projections to reflect recent discussions by the board about possible expenses.
In a statement to the Banner Graphic on Friday, Lovejoy and Pearson said the following:
"It is not our recommendation to spend the entire amount appropriated for the General Fund. If we continue to watch our spending and make wise fiscal decisions, we will end the year with over a million dollars in the General Fund alone."
Pearson, who is not expected to attend and was not at the meeting, said Friday there has been interest from the board in reinstating coaching stipends, adding extracurricular activities, hiring more teachers and potentially buying a new maintenance truck.
The statement continued, "The cash flow sheet projection for the General Fund was an attempt to show the Board approximately how much money could be expended on a monthly basis in salaries, benefits and other expenses if they should decide to reinstate the stipends, hire additional personnel or purchase a maintenance vehicle."
Without being given an explanation for the adjusted projections at the meeting, board members became concerned.
As a result of the concern, Board President Debbie Sillery recommended not approving any spending until they got an explanation, and the rest of the board agreed.
The cash flow sheet was not approved, dying due to lack of motion, and the board proceeded through the rest of the meeting quickly, choosing to table any agenda items that would result in increased spending.
"I just didn't think about people not understanding," Pearson said. "This (receiving a different amount of money from the state than was appropriated) happens every year. We just had different board members and it just takes one person who doesn't understand and, 'Holy Cow.'"
Earlier in the meeting, the school recognized various students from North Putnam Middles School.
Principal Terry Tippin gave a presentation that demonstrated an increase in middle school students passing both math and language arts over that past three years.
The most impressive number, Tippin said, was the 86 percent of seventh grade students passing language arts last year.
Various students were given awards for academic and athletic achievement.
Throughout the year, NPMS has been participating in Play 60, an initiative through the NFL that rewards schools for physical health and wellness. The project was facilitated by Joannie Knapp's eighth grade accelerated social studies class.
Students Lauren Johnston, Raegan Bowling, Noah Poynter, Jonah Creamean and Sierra Spencer presented the board with information about the program and how they have been participating in it. This includes various forms of athletics each day and helping the school provide food for a more healthy diet.
The students showed a video they made demonstrating their various activities.
The board also recognized retiring faculty members Linda Gjesvold, Linda Jones and Thelma Davis.
Gjesvold, known as "Mrs. G" to her students, has been an art teacher at NPHS/MS for 33 years.
Jones, a third grade teacher, has split time between Russellville Elementary and, when it closed, Roachdale. She retires after a 34-year career.
Thelma Davis retired after 24 years as a custodian at NPMS.
Other personnel moves included:
- Hiring Eric VanHaaften to teach 2012 summer school for NPHS.
- Hiring Shannon Skillern to work in the cafeteria at Bainbridge Elementary.
- Hiring Michael Worth to work as a custodian at NPHS.
- Accepting the resignation of custodian Randy Dozier and bus driver Brian Scobee.
- Terminating the contract of cafeteria worker Heather Steward.