HOPE – The Hope Public Schools Board set a fiscal 2017-2018 budget in special session Thursday night which conforms to new state law regarding “net legal balances” and produces a $3.5 million ending balance.
Hope Superintendent Bobby Hart said he had projected the ending balance for the new fiscal year, accounting for the change in the law and a $400,000 decline in projected revenues. The budget reflects the board’s agreement to shift some $200,000 into the district’s building fund annually over the next five years.
Total revenues from beginning balances of $4.6 million and projected income of $17.3 million are some $21.9 million for the new fiscal year. Projected expenditures from teacher salaries, operating funds, building fund and debt service total $18.3 million for the new budget.
That compares with some $18.7 million in expenditures in 2016-2017, which included some $200,000 less in debt service and the transfer of bond refinance savings of some $485,163, but total revenues of some $22.5 million.
Also Thursday night, the board adopted a minority recruitment plan for the district which begins to shift some aspects of recruitment to involve more teachers in the process and foster interest among students in teaching careers.
HPS Equity Coordinator Porcia Jones said the Arkansas Department of Education requires districts with more than five percent minority student population to submit a plan annually.
“We have to look, not only at recruiting, but retaining, as well,” Jones said.
Trustee Viney Johnson recommended establishment of a mentoring-type system to better utilize black male teachers to encourage black male students to consider teaching as a career. Johnson also stressed the need for direct recruitment of college education majors prior to their senior year.
Hart said the problem has not been a lack of initiative, but largely a dwindling education major pool, where some 15 years past there were 8,000 or more education majors in Arkansas colleges and universities compared with 2,400 today.
Hart also received approval from the board to advertise for candidacy letters from HPSD Zone 6 for the selection of a successor to the late Denver “Denny” Dickinson. He said the board has 30 days to make an appointment to the remainder of Dickinson’s term, and the appointment is entirely in the purview of the board; but, the process is required by law. Letters should be submitted to Hart’s office at 117 E. Second St., Hope, Ar., 71801, no later than Oct. 16.