Dear Ennis Mustang Families and Community,
2021 is winding down! I hope that everyone had a great Christmas with family and friends. School has been fairly quiet over the break, but we still have folks working in the office as well as custodial, maintenance, and transportation.
School will resume on Monday, January 3rd. There will be a special board meeting at 5:30pm on the 3rd to consider bus route options. The first option we are considering is temporarily contracting with VC to provide a driver to get us through the school year. Detailed information will be discussed and shared at the meeting. The other options may also be revisited if the board feels it necessary. Other options may include the cancellation of the VC route or cancellations of each bus route for a specified amount of time. For example, the VC route is cancelled for February, Cameron for March, Varney for April, and McAllister for May. These are only examples of what that may look like. We encourage you to attend the meeting on the 3rd and offer public comment during this agenda item. Your voice is very important.
Recently, there have been questions about the bond election and paying for a new facility, but not being able to pay enough per hour for a school bus driver or custodian. We understand this perception completely and how perception can be reality. If the bond is approved by the voters, the bond can only be used for the intended purpose of a new and improved school facility. School finance is complicated as we are bound by specific rules on spending the money in each school fund. For example, we can levy in the bus depreciation fund to buy yellow buses, but can’t use that for staff pay. We use our technology fund to buy tech related items and equipment, but can’t use it to buy custodial supplies or to pay an elementary teacher. Our largest and main fund to operate our school is the General Fund, which is capped by the state. The size of this fund is determined primarily by student enrollment. The more students we have in our school, the higher the budget. Almost all supplies, utilities, salaries, benefits, etc., are paid out of the General Fund, which we have to make sure we operate within that fund. We do encourage folks to contact the school about school financing and how our specific funds work.
Another topic that was brought to my attention was more focus on the district’s strategies to recruit and retain staff in terms of staff housing. I cannot agree more with this. This has been a talking point since I started in 2016 and a talking point before then. Affordable housing is an issue and with the cost of living and housing prices, it is a struggle as we all know. The school district has 5 housing units next to the HS that are all full. We pride ourselves with great staff with little turnover, but in the event we have resignations, we need housing to assist with our recruiting and retention efforts. During all of our planning meetings last spring and up to this point in time, staff housing has remained important and remained in our conversations. If the bond is approved, the plan is to pursue affordable staff housing if proceeds of the bond will allow it. The adopted bond resolution addresses this in the language.
Informational tour videos of the school facility will be added to our website and Facebook page to give additional information on our facility before the bond election. We understand that many are not familiar with our current facility and the informational tours are to help put things into perspective. I am hoping to have some available by the end of this week and over the course of the next 2-3 weeks. Please read the FAQs if you have not had a chance as there are a lot of great questions with answers. All building information is located on the school website. We also encourage folks to call the school with questions, comments, and concerns. In addition, if you are interested in visiting the school for a tour, please let us know.
In closing, we are excited to see your children January 3rd! I look forward to 2022 and hope that we can continue to move forward in a positive direction and to always do what’s best for kids. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Casey Klasna - Superintendent