The board also got a chance to look at a draft of the new vision and mission statements as part of the revision of the district’s Strategic Plan.
During Wednesday’s work session, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison told the board the district collected 88 percent of the projected revenue and spent 74 percent of the budgeted amounts in the quarter ending March 31. He said those amounts are normal for that time of year.
“We collect almost all of our property taxes earlier in the year,” Addison said.
However, the interest collected on those funds was only $712,220, which he said is low. Interest rates are depressed and aren’t expected to rise anytime soon, Addison said.
The weighted average rate of return is currently 0.23 percent for Cobb.
On a positive note, SPLOST III collections are up 14.4 percent, Addison said.
The district brought in $31.5 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, $4 million more than what Kennesaw State University’s business school projected.
“I suspect it’s an anomaly though,” Addison said.
January’s numbers far exceeded the KSU projections, but Addison said that figure was arrived at before former SPLOST Administrator Doug Shepard asked that the projections be reworked. February and March’s numbers reflect the new projections.
The board also heard from Duane Schlereth, an accountant with Bates, Carter and Company of Gainesville, who performed a state-required SPLOST III performance audit.
“No instances of non-compliance (were found),” he told the board. “You are operating the SPLOST program in an economical and efficient manner, safeguarding and maximizing SPLOST funds.”
He said the district has collected $415 million to date, about 66 percent of the $632 million committed to projects.
Additionally, Addison told the board that high school food services are making enough of a profit to cancel out losses at other school levels.
In the quarter ending March 31, elementary schools lost $986,800 and middle schools lost $135,700, but high schools saw a profit of $1.3 million. After expenses such as large equipment purchases and central office staff salaries, food services saw a profit of $37,752.
“The elementary schools do normally have a loss,” Addison said. “(The fund is) breaking even though. High schools have a profit because we serve a lot of a la carte meals, and that’s much more profitable.”
Board member Alison Bartlett said she’s worried about that figure because starting next year the district will be required by federal law to serve healthier food, which the district is already trying to deal with by increasing meal prices by 50 cents.
“The federal government is requiring lower salt, lower fat, and it makes the food products more expensive,” Addison said. “Food services is constantly researching to find the least expensive products that they can, but of course they are products that have to meet the nutritional requirements.”
Addison said the food services’ fund balance is currently at $22 million.
In other business, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones asked for feedback from the board about a draft version of the district’s vision, mission and goal statements.
The vision statement is “Empowering dreams of the future.” The mission statement is “Creating pathways for success.” The three goals are “Vary learning experiences to increase success in career paths,” “Deploy resources to areas/schools based on needs” and “Develop stakeholder involvement to promote student success.”
There was very little feedback during the 10-minute conversation, but Bartlett said the goals should be measurable.
“You’re supposed to be able to measure whether you got success or failure,” she said. “While these goals sound nice, I need a little bit more information on how you think you’re going to measure this.”
Jones said measurements would be built into the plan as the district continues to work on it.
Jones also said she’s gotten a “strong idea” of what the public wants to see from the plan from two public hearings they’ve hosted on it.
The only things the board voted on Wednesday were the retirements of Addison, effective Sept. 28, and Kell High Principal Trudie Donovan, effective July 1; a resignation from Area 1 Assistant Superintendent Robert Benson, who accepted a superintendent position in Virginia, effective June 29; and the reassignments of Laura Montgomery from assistant principal at Hightower Trail to principal, David Pearce from principal at Hayes Primary to principal at Oakwood Digital Academy, and Teressa Watson from principal at Hayes Intermediate to principal at Hayes Primary, all effective July 1.