The South Callaway School District's Board of Education approved the yearly budget Wednesday, which Superintendent Kevin Hillman said plans for "worst case" scenarios — budgeting for a $317,000 deficit.
Hillman said last year's budget included a similar deficit, but the district actually ended up with a $1.8 million surplus. South Callaway does not expect as much of a surplus this year, Hillman added, but also does not foresee having a deficit, as the budget anticipates the worst of what the district could face.
The budget expects $11.4 million in expenses and $11.1 million in revenue, with 86 percent of funding going to instruction and support and 2.8 percent being applied to the total athletics fund.
Hillman told the board one issue is South Callaway is receiving more federal funding per meal than what it is charging students, so the school is being mandated to change the formula it uses to calculate meal costs. He said this will cause meal costs to go up and noted it will likely be unpopular.
Mary Van Orden, director of curriculum and instruction, told the board South Callaway is instituting a more extensive program for incoming teachers including four days of orientation. Van Orden added the program would continue on past the summer when they are first hired.
"This is a rigorous plan for our teachers — just like we put our kids through," she said.
Middle School Principal Gary Bonsall said SCMS plans to focus more on curriculum rather than standardized test preparation to do what is "best for kids." He said when more time is taken for preparing for a test like MAP, it means students have less time learning actual curriculum.
In addition, Bonsall said the middle school had struggles with attendance this year and will likely fall short of guidelines, noting one particular class had many issues.
The board also approved several bids during the meeting for new improvements to the district schools, including a new storage tank/water heater, new carpet for a library and auditorium, new flooring for the high school multi-purpose room, and new weight room equipment for the high school.