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Board OK's spending $100,000 at meeting

Despite recent budget cuts, board buys textbooks, band uniforms and track timers

Staff writer

The band uniforms proposed last month by director Chris Barlow had a curious amount of black, but a redesign gave them more blue, and they were approved for purchase at a school board meeting Monday night.

They weren’t the only big purchase made, either.

In its first meeting after state budget cuts became official, the board was resolutely undeterred in its spending. The band uniforms were one of five purchases approved by the USD 408 board Monday that totaled $109,571.20.

The uniforms feature a mostly blue torso, whereas the previous design was mostly black with a blue and red stripe. Board members were pleased with the change.

The biggest purchase of the night, however, came in the form of new math textbooks for the elementary school. The elementary faculty put extensive research into choosing its best books, teacher Rebecca Hofer said. The new books cost $68,161.

The other large purchase was $13,185 spent on a track timing system that will automatically time events for track meets.

Grant Thierolf, athletic director at MHS, said programs without the automatic timing devices aren’t typically selected to host regional meets. In conjunction with the new track, the system makes Marion an ideal candidate to host a regional.

The board also renewed its membership to the Kansas Association of School Boards for $7,432, and agreed to legal services provided by KASB for $1,650.

Overall the meeting netted the district over $100,000 in new amenities.

Superintendent Lee Leiker said that the spending was high, but it was all budgeted for and planned in advance.

“We’ve been planning on band uniforms the last few years,” he said. “We’ve been planning on those, and the math textbooks. By doing so, we’ve been able to budget and prepare.”

The spending came from the board’s general fund, its local option budget, and its capital outlay budget.

Leiker said the district anticipated budget reductions from the state, so it was able to absorb them without making cuts.

In additional business, the board approved a change in the last day of school from May 22 to a noon dismissal May 21.

Last modified April 15, 2015

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