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Thursday, May 5, 2016

School board discusses cost saving

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Clay Community School Corporation Board of Trustees is looking at ways to save money.

During the Thursday regular meeting, the board had a discussion on forming a cost saving committee, which would be composed of school board members, administration and community members.

"I would only like to have two or three board members because I don't want to have to advertise this," Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "The public is welcome to attend, but this allows us more latitude to get together as a group and then decide on how many people can meet."

During the July meeting, board member Ron Scherb asked Schroeder to come up with a cost savings plan of $500,000. It was then suggested that a committee be formed to come up with the plan.

"It seems to me that we need to start thinking and creating," Scherb said. "To see how creative we can be to keep those teachers in the classroom."

Creating an action plan now, before the corporation receives any word about the amount of additional cuts it is to receive from the state, would hopefully lessen the blow in the future.

"Whatever it takes to keep those ISTEP+ (Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress-Plus) scores rising," Scherb said. "That is why I am here,"

In another effort to save the corporation money, the idea was mentioned to purchase two or three vehicles for corporation staff instead of mileage reimbursement.

Business Manager Mike Fowler sent a report to the board members breaking down the ownership of a vehicle versus the mileage. When he was asked to do the report, Fowler went to local vendors to receive the information.

"What I took upon myself was to follow (Fowler's) procedure, and I did call outside the county," board member Amy Adams said.

She discovered that there is one dealership that would reduce its profits.

"I didn't share the numbers we had, I just asked what they could do for these same vehicles," she said. "If we pursue this route, then we can save $7,883. If they sell us the same vehicles."

Members of the administration have been using their personal vehicles to conduct business and then been reimbursed for a monthly rate for their expenses. The reimbursement checks include the gasoline, the wear and tear on the car and insurance, at a rate of 45-cents per mile. Adams continued to say how the checks range anywhere from $300-$500 in a month's time depending upon the amount of work that is done in that time frame.

"When you look at it from a family or a taxpayer point of view, $300 or $400 a month is a pretty good car payment," she said. "So looking at this, maybe we should look at buying three vehicles and have something the corporation owns."

She went on to say how if the corporation bought new vehicles and maintained them, then they would get many years out of them.

"For taxpayer purposes you would get more value for your dollar if you bought it," she said. "It would be like renting an apartment for 10 or 30 years instead of paying a mortgage. At the end you may have maintained your house and paid electric, but in the end you own it when you pay off that mortgage. Where as if you rent, you don't."

She went on to say how if the corporation continued to go along with an average reimbursement then in 10 years they will have paid out an average of $144,000 to three administrators and not own anything.

"If we bought three vehicles, then we would use that money to maintain those three vehicles and at the end of 10 years we will still have owned three vehicles," Adams said.

She also looked at the mileage that would be on the vehicles as indicated in Fowler's report and conceded the corporation could get a good resale from the vehicles, at 10 years a Ford Fusion would only have 76,000 miles, Ford 150 4-wheel drive would only have 120,000 miles and a Ford Ranger 4-wheel drive would only have 52,000 miles on it.

The estimates did involve the cost of insurance with a total of $2,250 for all three vehicles.

"I have gone over some of the other information and I felt like there was a savings rather than a loss," board member Tina Heffner said. "I felt like we broke even probably within a matter of five or six years. I do think it is a cost savings to the taxpayer."

Heffner asked that the item be included on the agenda for next month to discuss it further. The board unanimously voted to table the matter until the September meeting.


Comments
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Thoughtful, but I would have to consider the comparative costs of different makes and models as well as how well they retain their resale value over a period of years. Also, are we considering adding to the fleet of vehicles maintained by the Transportation Department and how would that effect the requirements of time, material, and shop floor space along with maintenance equipment requirements to properly maintain three more vehicles.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 12:41 AM

I may not fully understand but I am wondering if these new vehicles would be used as non-business use as well. I mean the police in this town do it and haul their families to local grocery stores, etc...so I was just wondering about these vehicles as well.

If that's the case...I would think that all Clay County residents could get vehicles that were paid for by others. =)

-- Posted by JQuick on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 1:59 AM

What a pain to have to: drive to the school, get a car, drive to do school business, return to school, get your own car, then go back home. I'd say there would be a savings. Most would probably just skip the whole hassle and use their own vehicle except for the longest of trips. Make things easy for these people to do our school business.

-- Posted by brazilian on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 9:02 AM

I don't think with the purchase of the three vehicles, they are going to school principals.

The car would probably go to the Superintendant and Asst. Superintendant depending on the need to travel. The pick-up and SUV would, generally, be for the use of the Directors of Transportation and Buildings and grounds. However, several of the other employees have need of transportation at times, such as the Business Manager.

On thinking on this, there would still exist a need to reimburse for mileage, but with a great reduction. It would be wasteful for the Director of Buildings and Grounds, for example, to drive a corporate vehicle to his home every day, but it would also be wasteful for him to have to drive all the way to wherever the corporate vehicles are parked to get one, drive back to the school building nearest his home to check an alarm that went off in the middle of the night, then return the corporate vehicle. In that instance, the corporation would save money just reimbursing him for mileage.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 12:02 PM

So, we pay this Superinterndant 120,000 dollars a year to do his job. He chooses to live in another county, so we reimburse him for mileage? Sign me up for some of that Gravy Train.

1. Require the Supt. of Clay County- LIVE in Clay County.

-- Posted by reddevil on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 8:29 PM

That's an interesting comment, RedDevil. I'm not sure where they start figuring the reimbursable mileage, from home or place of employment.

You have to know how the mileage is reported and how is it accounted for. I know that the VA in Indy reimburses from address to address for distance as computed by MapQuest. Are we reimbursing for reported odometer miles? Also, there is ride-sharing, as in two employees have a meeting in Indianapolis and they ride together, but we are reimbursing using a method other than odometer milage, such as MapQuest, have we been reimbursing for use of two vehicles when only one was used. Don't get me wrong on that, because it is a matter of reporting, not dishonesty. If you are paying the person for business travel by computed mileage, they traveled that mileage. If you are paying for the miles a vehicle traveled, then you need to take into consideration how many people were in it.

But, one your item #1, I hope we are not paying anyone mileage from their chosen residence to their place of employment. That, for everyone, is part of the cost of earning a living.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 4:41 AM

Since we are on the discussion of saving money, why are we paying this gravy training school sup. 120,000 dollars a year.

Exactly what do we get in return?

I'd say we could find plenty of people who would do it for 1/2 of that! (hand in the air)

-- Posted by reddevil on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 9:55 PM

reddevil:

No matter what I agree or disagree with in this case, the salary of the superintendent reflects his investment in his education. The position advertises to be held by a person who has a PhD...the equivalent of 8 to 12 years of education AFTER graduating from high school[think at least $10k of school loan per year in some cases]. Not many with this type of education would work for much less than that. If you can find people to work for $60K with the same level of education, good luck. No matter what you say about the decisions being made by the superintendent [and I don't agree with all of them], his education at least has given him the exposure to know how to manage in his position. My problem is that sometimes a superintendent's expertise is compromised by board majority decisions that are not so wisely decided and due to a superintendent wanting to have his contract renewed, he bows to their decision. I am not in any way accusing this superintendent, but have seen it happen in the past and it takes a strong, ethically minded individual to maintain his position and still stand by his decisions so the students receive all opportunities possible.

Makes one wonder if superintendents who move around a lot are doing so because the did a bad job or just did their job and just didn't do what the board wanted....

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 7:37 AM

If I recall correctly, recently the InDOE dropped the requirement for a superintendent to hold a degree in education, opening the position up to business professionals.

On managing, the position is responsible to a board that sets policy and controls the budget that is responsible directly to the public at the ballot box. When the superintendent comes to the board and suggests one course of action when the public and board sees that there are many options that need to be discussed and thoroughly investigated before making a decision, it raises questions as to what the superintendent's motivation to bring only one option to the table is.

That brings up other probable reasons for a superintendent to move around a lot; they didn't get to do things the way that they wanted to without a lot of work or they had to produce research that proved to their board and public that what they recommended was the best of several options that they invested time to investigate. Then, of course, sometimes hindsight proved that the option that they recommended was not the best one, too.

It is a difficult position to fill and while the changes in the requirements may affect the compensation offered by school corporations in the future, I won't be expecting any great drop.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 1:04 PM

RedDevil.....I had to ask since you volunteered the info that you would accept less for the position. Would you accept less to fill the position than what the assistant superintendent is being compensated, which I do believe is $100K a year? That would make the pay scale look a bit absurd.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 1:09 PM

On the topic of funding for schools, it has recently come to light that has paid absolutely zero into the civil asset forfeiture fund in the last two years. Considering the large amount of drug busts we read about, I would like to pose the question as to why this would be the case. Do we simply not confiscate any assets? Or if we do, why are these funds not being directed to the school fund as is mandated by the state constitution?

For those unfamiliar with the topic, it was recently reported in the Indianapolis Star and other news outlets that, although it is required of all counties to provide all funds seized to the general school fund, there are only 5 of our 92 counties that have paid into the fund in the last 2 years, with one county (Wayne, I believe) making up over a third of those payments. I really would be interested in seeing what those in charge of overseeing this have to say.

-- Posted by SilentRat on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 5:25 PM

On the topic of funding for schools, it has recently come to light that has paid absolutely zero into the civil asset forfeiture fund in the last two years. Considering the large amount of drug busts we read about, I would like to pose the question as to why this would be the case. Do we simply not confiscate any assets? Or if we do, why are these funds not being directed to the school fund as is mandated by the state constitution?

For those unfamiliar with the topic, it was recently reported in the Indianapolis Star and other news outlets that, although it is required of all counties to provide all funds seized to the general school fund, there are only 5 of our 92 counties that have paid into the fund in the last 2 years, with one county (Wayne, I believe) making up over a third of those payments. I really would be interested in seeing what those in charge of overseeing this have to say.

-- Posted by SilentRat on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 5:34 PM

So ... we buy three new cars and keep them for ten years we can say we owned them? I usually finance my cars for about ten years, but I never really feel like I owned them. And I am guessing after ten years they got somewhere around 150,000 miles.

This is definitely a moneymaker. I can see some of these new ideas are whoppers for sure.

-- Posted by Gunslinger on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:17 PM

Not that anyone implied it .. but (IMO) a diploma/degree is not a measure of intelligence.

I refuse to believe the Superintendent position in Brazil is worth $120k, when we have teachers who impact children's lives so much more - yet they make 1/4 of that, if they're lucky.

It's always nice to hear though that SOMEONE is getting a return on their investment.

-- Posted by Emmes on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 11:13 PM


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