Still pondering budget

Mexico School Board members met Tuesday night in regular session and decided to push discussions about the 2013-2014 preliminary budget to the April 16 board meeting. District Superintendent Kevin Freeman advised the directors that the outlook for the 2013-2014 school year is optimistic.
Freeman told the board that state revenue might be a little higher, but everything else is a little bit lower.
"State revenues are decent right now, so we're a little bit optimistic there. Federal revenues will be down a little bit. But I don't know if that's news to anybody if they know what's going on out there. But, we're cautiously optimistic for next year I think," Freeman said.
Freeman also noted that salaries for elementary school principals in Mexico are lower than comparable sized districts, and that Mexico School District salaries need to be discussed.
"In looking at some 30 schools similar in size to us in enrollments, some of our salaries are low, and we plan to address that and do something about it," Freeman told the press. "I think we will make some kind of recommendations for higher salaries for some of our administrators." More discussions are expected in April.
The board also pushed discussions about the track refurbishment and summer school application to the April agenda.
In other board news, members also heard and approved the following:
• 2012C policies, final reading
• Policies IKC, EB and EHBA
• Dates for the MSBA Spring Regional Meeting (April 17, Warren County); the Goal Setting Session for the End of School Year Retreat (June 25, 5-8 p.m.); and Board Reorganization (April 16, during the regular session meeting.)
• Health, Life and Voluntary Insurance renewal rates. Features include:
- $500 deductible employee buy-up option
- District pays 100 percent of employee premium
- Medicare subtraction rate only available on the $500 deductible PPO plan.
- District pays 100 percent of premium and funds HSA $30 or employee (total district cost is $449)
- District pays 100 percent of employee premium
- District pays 100 percent of premium and funds HSA $52 for employee (total district cost is $463)
- Decrease in the 2013-2014 premium from the Traditional PPO option is due to a change in the deductible for next years's renewal, increasing from $500 to $1,000. The rates are effective July 1, 2013.
• 2013-2014 Salary Protocol for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, which plans for the base teacher salary be raised to $500 from $31,000 to $31,800, and that returning teachers move one step and teaching staff move up one step. The district plan also calls for an extra duty salary schedule, extended day contracts, support staff salary schedule and administrator salaries. Though the board approved the protocol, they agreed to leave room for amendments at a later date, once the budget is approved.
The regular meeting adjourned into executive session for the board to discuss personnel and student discipline. The next Mexico Board of Education meeting is Tuesday, April 16, 7 p.m. in the Central Office Board Room.