CCS School Board provides financial update

by Jan 22, 2020NEWS ka-no-he-da





The Tuesday, Jan. 21 meeting of the Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Chairperson Jennifer Thompson; Vice Chair Isaac Long; Secretary Tara Reed-Cooper; Board members Gloria Griffin, Karen French-Browning, and Regina Ledford-Rosario; School Board Assistant Sunnie Clapsaddle; HR Director Heather Driver; Superintendent Dr. Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beverly Payne; and Tribal Council representative Chelsea Saunooke present.

Superintendent Murray led a prayer and the minutes from the Jan. 6 meeting were approved.

The School Board had two groups of guests for the meeting, the first of which was the Cherokee Boy’s Club Finance group to give an update on the school’s budget.

CCS is halfway through its fiscal year, and so there is a 50 percent budget target at this point. The school reports that it is in a good standing with only two departments over 50 percent of their budget used, with those being the Performing Arts Center (52 percent) and Technology (83 percent). However, William Lowe explained that the Technology number is not a surprise as there was a significant purchase of computers at the beginning of the year. As a whole, CCS has used 43 percent of the year’s total budget.

Regarding the Board of Education portion of the budget, they are seven months into their fiscal year and are expected to have used about 60 percent of their budget. Currently, they sit at 52.5 percent used. The only outlier is training for school board members, which has already exceeded its budget for the year. Chairperson Thompson questioned if the budget had been adjusted for the training of every board member going to the National School Board Conference, and it was agreed that it would be looked at when budgets are adjusted for the following year.

The final discussion between the Board and CBC Finance had to do with the budget for academic banquets. Currently, the budget calls for small financial rewards for top students at each grade. At the elementary levels, this would only amount to about $5 for each award winner. The School Board requested that the Finance Director Howard Wahnetah come back with an estimated cost to increase those rewards to at least $20. This year, the Board plans to take the money out of their discretionary fund, but in the future, they want it built into each budget for the schools.

The next guests were the EBCI Investment Committee who came to offer their second quarterly update. Over the four months, the account grew $546,589.11. This increase brings the total market value to $13,551,924.32.

Polly Kelley and Cory Blankenship were there to represent the Committee, and they explained that while this has been a good quarter, this could be a volatile year because of the political climate. However, they are confident in their current strategy and are monitoring the account carefully.

Following their guests, the Board quickly passed the consent agenda. There was only one resolution, which approved Lydia Raines as an Elementary Teacher at CCS.

There were multiple items under new business, but it was all handled in a short time.

First, the Board approved a $500 donation request from the Cherokee Middle School Beta Club. The donation will be used for student hotel and food costs so they can attend the Junior Beta Convention held in Greensboro from Feb. 3-5.

Next, they addressed their annual joint school board meeting with Swain County Schools. The meeting will be held in Cherokee this year, but they have yet to hear back from Swain to confirm a date.

The final piece of new business was to discuss ethics training for the Board. The training is being used so that the Board can appropriately evaluate the Superintent moving forward. The training would be attached to a regular meeting day.

The School Board finished the meeting in a closed session. The subject matter of the closed session was not disclosed, and a report of the discussion was not offered to the Cherokee One Feather.

The next meeting of the CCS Board of Education will be held at 4:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3.