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Charter School Governing Board sets tentative budget

By Staff | Jun 13, 2017

The Cape Coral Charter School Governing Board on Tuesday approved its tentative operating budget for the 2017-18 school year. It also scheduled a special meeting on July 13 to review the applications received for the superintendent’s position.

Under the supervision of interim Superintendent Jacqueline Collins, a mix of administrators for the first time put together a three-year rolling budget through 2020 similar to the process used by the City of Cape Coral in recent years. The board, however, only approved the first year of the three-year budget.

The budget will be adjusted over the next two months with final approval set for August.

The proposed 2017-18 budget came in at just under $28.7 million to operate its four schools, VPK programs and administration. The total budget figure is 2.17 percent less than this past year’s budget.

Revenue is projected at just over $23.2 million plus current fund balances of $5,422,564. Proposed expenditures were set at $24.1 million, or 1.6 percent less than last year.

The current budgeted revenue of $23.2 million falls short of expected expenditures of $24.1 million making it necessary to use $833,474 in reserves to support the budget.

A mere 2 percent base salary increase is included in the budget figures for 2018 and a decrease of 14 teaching/administrative positions.

The budget also takes into account that the charter schools will not have to pay the city some $311,000 worth of city staff assistance, which is expected to be approved by City Council during its budget approval process.

Enrollment at the charter schools estimate an increase of 24 students to reach a total of 3,151 full-time students plus 40 in the VPK program.

The board has received 25 applications to date for the superintendent’s position left vacant in March when the board dismissed Nelson Stephenson after he submitted his resignation after 2 1/2 years of service.

After expressing concern over the lack of an evaluation and interview process, the board settled on each member reviewing all applications in an effort to pare the list down to the top five or so candidates to be discussed at the July 13 special meeting.

“I don’t think we need to rush the hiring, but I don’t want us to be perceived as having failed if we don’t have a superintendent on board when school starts,” said board Vice Chair Rob Zivkovic. “I’d like to keep the application window open while we look at the first batch of candidates as a way of catching a good candidate looking for a job late.”

A special meeting is necessary since the board does not normally meet in July. The next regular meeting isn’t until Aug. 8.