D29 adopts 2014-15 budget, hires new employees

The Williston District 29 School Board finalized its budget June 24, including a projection of more revenue.
Since the budget's second reading earlier in the month, the district received new projections of its revenue from the state. While the numbers could change, the district projects $7,206,014 in revenue, according to budget documents.
The added revenue will help the district pay for some of the extra expenditures it wants next year and decrease how much they need to take from the fund balance - or reserve fund.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Siler said they now project they will need $93,458 from the fund balance in order to balance the budget, though they will still have $2,309,580 left. This is down from the $102,296 they were planning to use in the second reading.
Other budget highlights include a step increase for certified and support staff, a 2.64 millage increase on taxable property, and several new positions. The district plans to increase the number of days some employees are contracted to work, such as guidance counselors, while adding another second grade teacher and two science and social studies teachers at the middle school to help improve grades in those subjects, according to budget documents.
The budget was unanimously approved.
In other news:
The board gave Siler the authority to seek an updated facilities study and bid proposals for new or renovated buildings. Siler said this is simply to gather information, as action to proceed with any plans would need further board approval.
Siler said he hopes to have more information for the board at the August meeting.
The board approved several staffing changes, including Ronnie Johnson as the new band director at the middle and high schools. Johnson takes the place of Gretchen Salomone, who resigned, said Siler.
Other new hires include Megan McCormick and Annette Wright as teachers at Kelly Edwards Elementary.
The board also accepted the resignation of high school physical education teacher Robert Wrightenberry.
Siler said the summer feeding program at the elementary school is averaging more than 100 students daily. The program offers a free lunch to anyone under age 18, not just students in the district, and runs until the end of July.