SENECA - The Seneca School Board got a glimpse into the future at their meeting Monday night, when district administrator Dave Boland showed them the control room for the recently installed security cameras.
The vibrant high quality screen was filled with the pictures from the 30 cameras stationed around the school. Boland told the board that touching any of the pictures would fill the screen with that view. However, the administrator declined to demonstrate the selection of a single view, noting the system was still in the process of being installed.
Boland also told the board that the electronic door locks were well on their way to being installed. All of the new security upgrades are being paid for by a state grant.
Once installed, the new locks will allow staff members to operate them with electronic key fobs, while the doors can also be remotely controlled, monitored and programmed from the school’s office.
There were several last minute back-to-school adjustments on the agenda-including some pay rate adjustments. Bus driver pay was increased to keep it in line with the average being paid by other area school districts.
Board member Larry Kelley initially made a motion to raise the bus route pay by $2 per hour making Seneca bus routes at the low end of the averages for other districts. Kelley, realizing the increase made the routes $30.97, then modified his motion to raise the routes by $2.50—that made each route pay $31.47.
Another provision affected drivers doing extracurricular routes that required them to leave early and not do their regular routes. Under a new proposal these drivers would be allowed to collect the route pay for the first two hours of their extracurricular run. Regular extracurricular pay to bus drivers is $13.74 per hour. The board passed the bus route pay raise and extracurricular adjustment unanimously.
In discussing a recent audit by Johnson & Block, Boland told the board the bookkeeping firm hired by the district approved the financial records of the district. A full audit report will be published in September.
The district administrator noted that the district spent an extra $120,546, beyond what was budgeted, when revenue largely from storm damage payments were $130,000 over the amount in the budget.
Boland was quick to point out that the extra spending was intentional and long range in nature. Despite the increased spending the district did end the fiscal year with a surplus.
“When we knew revenue was increasing we increased spending,” Boland said. “The district purchased the Chevy Traverse and still ended with a surplus of revenue.
“It was a good year,” Boland noted. “I’ll take a year like that any year.”
In other business, the Seneca School Board:
• increased extracurricular supervisor pay by amounts similar to increase enacted in 2013
• approved a revision in board policy to allow employees to use bereavement days for the death of close friends, as well as family
• modified the employee handbook from 20 days of service to 45 days of service, as the differentiating point between short-term and long-term substitutes
• approved use of the van for middle school football practice when needed
• agreed to pay a $500 member fee to the Rural School Alliance to continue representing the interest of rural schools
• approved a $300 fee to maintain the Farm to School membership and the service it provides to the school
• learned accounts had been clarified for better recordkeeping in the student activities account
The board decided the Seneca Area School District Monthly Recognition Award should go to Leonard Olson for his 55 years of school bus driving service and also to Michelle Updike for her work in the successful summer lunch program.
Following a closed session meeting, the board reconvened in open session and approved a medical leave of absence as requested by an employee.