English Language Arts benchmark data, a review of board policies, a budget update and other items are on the agenda for St. Clair School Board meeting Thursday night.

Superintendent Dr. Kyle Kruse said building principals will present first and second quarter benchmark data on English Language Arts assessments.

The new English Language Arts series for grades kindergarten through eighth grade were implemented this school year.

Kruse said the board will discuss a meeting time with faculty and staff for FGM Architects to present its district-wide facility assessments. The firm presented its initial findings to the board in January.

FGM Architects toured each school building and took photos, as well as spoke with district officials and staff for the assessments.

Stephen Raskin, project manager with FGM Architects noted that St. Clair Elementary is in need of paving and asphalt repairs for sidewalks, parking lots, roads and playgrounds, in addition to lighting upgrades, skylight and roofing work, and more.

Improvements at Edgar Murray Elementary include traffic circulation, paving and asphalt, mechanical issues, ADA compliant bathrooms, lighting upgrades and more.

At the junior high, improvements include traffic circulation, the softball field, the administration office, paving and asphalt, heating and ventilation, lighting and more.

Raskin said improvements for the high school include traffic circulation, paving and asphalt, heating and ventilation, lighting upgrades, locker room upgrades, roof repairs, annex buildings and more.

In addition to a meeting with faculty and staff, there will be a meeting for community members to attend later this spring.

Over the summer, the firm will create a list of possible projects, and host two meetings with faculty and staff and two community meetings where people will be able to vote on projects they feel are the biggest priorities.

In October, FGM Architects will report to the board on possible projects and the board will discuss a projects list. In November, the board will discuss and modify the projects list.

Then in December, the list will be finalized and the board will decide whether or not to place a no tax-increase bond issue on the April 2020 ballot that will help pay for the projects.

Budget

At Thursday’s meeting, Kruse said he will give a summary of the current year budget. He said there will be a deficit for 2018-19 due to several capital projects.

In July, the school board approved a new $24 million operating budget. The budget is almost balanced as revenues and expenditures both equal about $24 million.

The budget projects deficit spending in the operations budget of about $40,000 and about $40,000 in the capital project fund.

The deficits are due to a one-time expenditures such as the faculty longevity stipend and expenditures for major capital projects such as the new press box, bleachers, entrance sign and more.

The budget also includes salary increases. The base teacher salary has been increased to $33,500, according to Kruse.

Faculty and staff in the district will see about a 2 1/2 percent raise. Additionally, the district’s contribution to health insurance premiums has increased.

Kruse also will present a first look at the 2019-20 budget and the capital projects set for next school year.

“We’re getting through the list of capital projects that have smaller price tags and we’re headed toward some capital projects that are probably best addressed through a no tax rate increase bond issue,” he said.

Health Insurance

Kruse also will discuss the district’s insurance rates, which will increase for next school year.

“We and 30 other school districts buy health insurance together,” he said. “We’re looking at a pretty significant increase in insurance rates.”

He added that the insurance company will charge each district for an assessment to make sure the group has enough money in reserves to meet state requirements.

“It’s not a great thing to have your insurance rates kick up significantly and also be charged an assessment,” Kruse said. “It seems like that’s what happened this year in a lot of parts of the state.”

Also on the agenda, Kruse said the board will discuss and vote on financial policies.