By Tim Leeds
A recommended school calendar for the 2000-2001 school district calendar was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Havre Public Schools District 16 and A Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.
The calendar will begin with staff orientation on Thursday, Aug. 24. Classes will begin on Monday, Aug. 28. Classes will end on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 with the year ending on Thursday, May 31, 2001 a staff planning day.
Graduation will be held on Sunday, May 27, 2001 over the Memorial Day weekend.
Superintendent Dr. Kirk Miller presented the findings of a survey his office conducted to find public opinion on the calendar desired. The public voted on three calendars, including the one approved. The other calendars voted on included draft B, which began on Aug. 24 and ended on June 7; and draft C, which began on Sept. 5 and ended on June 8. Alternate graduation days were voted on for each calendar.
Miller said the approved calendar received 42 percent of the vote, with the next choice receiving about 38 percent. The Sunday graduation day received about 54 percent of the vote, a Memorial Day graduation about 11 percent, and a Tuesday, May 5 graduation about 9 percent.
The board also heard background information about the 2000-2001 school budget and possible levy proposals presented by Public Schools Director of Operations Ric Floren.
Floren said the elementary school budgets are already at 100 percent of their budget caps, but the high school budget is only at 89.4 percent of the cap. Because of this, he said, the elementary school budget is frozen, but levies could be conducted for the high school budget.
Floren presented five options for the high school budget, ranging from a freeze to a 4 percent increase. He said due to a salary increase the board may have to make decisions on presenting some levy increase to the voters for approval, although no action was recommended.
Floren said the budget cap was implemented to equalize educational opportunity across the state. Because of this cap, he said, there are limits to what the Legislature can allocate to the school budgets. Due to decreasing enrollment, the budget caps have also been decreasing, Floren said.
He said due to a decrease in enrollment in the elementary school, next year's bud-get is more than $20,000 less than this year. He said a 3.5 percent funding increase has been allowed this year and next year. If this had not been allowed, he said, the decrease would have been more than $200,000
Floren also said that due to the current calendar year, for the first time in his memory the school board elections and levy proposals will be presented in May instead of April.
In the past, Floren said, a failed levy could be presented again in altered or identical form. Due to the later vote this could not be done this year, he said.
Floren also said that levies no longer need to be presented as budget authority issues. He said that in the past the amount presented on a levy was higher than the amount actually asked for from the taxpayers.
Since the levies will no longer ask for a budget authority amount, he said, the taxpayers will be able to see how much is actually requested in dollars.
In other issues, the board heard the presentation of the results of the 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The board voted on: Authorization for bus replacement bids, approved; Revisions to the audience participation policies at board meetings, approved; Participation in the Department of Public Health and Human Services Montana Prevention Needs Assessment Project Survey, approved.
The board voted as recommended by the superintendent's office on all items presented.