New DeKalb Eastern bus garage

The DeKalb Eastern school district held an open house for its new bus maintenance facility on R.E. Jones Road Monday. At left, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Stephens talks with retired Supt. Dr. Charles Hampel and guests while more visitors tour the facility.

BUTLER — DeKalb Eastern school board members got a first-hand look at the new bus maintenance facility when they met there Monday.

The new facility, located off R.E. Jones Road at the south edge of Butler, on property that also includes Butler Elementary School, offers more space to serve buses.

When the previous building was constructed at the east edge of the Eastside Junior-Senior High School property, the school district was servicing about 20 buses. Now, the district services 80 buses with the capacity for more, bus maintenance supervisor Alan Butler said during an open house Monday.

The board reviewed and voted to advertise the 2020 budget.

The budget includes total proposed expenditures of just over $20.7 million.

Of the total budget, nearly $10.5 million is in the education fund, which largely pays teacher salaries and benefits, personnel and other costs at the building level.

The operations fund includes just over $6.2 million, combines the old capital projects, bus replacement and transportation funds.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Stephens anticipates the total budget amount will be reduced as the district works through the process.

The public will have the opportunity to address the budget during a public hearing at the September meeting. The budget will then come up for adoption at the October meeting.

This spring, the Indiana General Assembly passed HB1001, the state funding bill.

One of the provisions of the bill, Stephens said, is a reduction in the state teacher retirement fund payment by public school districts.

The bill requires school boards to recognize the amount of the reduction and how the savings will be used. Stephens said DeKalb Eastern will save about $52,000 which will be used to support teacher salaries as established through the negotiated agreement with the teacher’s union.

The board recognized bus maintenance staff members James Muzyka and Alan Maynard and thanked the staff for the open house. Butler reviewed comments he received during the open house and thanked the school board for the new facility.

Building principals submitted their year-end extra-curricular balance reports. Stephens explained this is an annual requirement of the State Board of Accounts. The board accepted the reports.

In other business, the school board approved the following:

  • Professional leave for Stephens and Shane Conwell to attend the National Superintendent’s Conference Feb. 13-17 in San Diego. Expenses will be covered through a professional development grant;
  • A leave of absence for maintenance employee Rob Goldner; and
  • Resignations from the following Northeast Indiana Special Education Cooperative employees: teacher Jacob Didion, teacher Bethany Swary and bus monitor Regina Hart.

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