Billings Catholic Schools board appoves 2012-2013 budget

2012-09-19T21:31:00Z 2012-09-20T09:10:36Z Billings Catholic Schools board appoves 2012-2013 budgetBy CARMEN DAYE IRISH cirish@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The Billings Catholic Schools Board on Wednesday unanimously approved the 2012-2013 budget.

A detailed financial statement, which was distributed to board members, was characterized as sure financial footing and debt free by business manager Dulcey Eubank.

The board also unanimously approved signing another five-year contract with Sarpy Transportation for the school’s bus routes. The only change made from the last five-year contract is a 20 cent per mile increase, Harold Olson, the school system’s president, said.

In another unanimous vote, the board agreed on a proposal from Montana State University Billings’ William R. Lowe Child Care and Enrichment Center to purchase the Catholic Schools’ playground equipment and classroom odds-and-ends that remain after the consolidation in June of the early education centers into the St. Francis Primary facility.

In other news, Kathy Harris, the school system's marketing director, said students raised nearly $70,000 with the second-annual Jog-A-Thon.

Director of education Tim Lowe discussed improvements in technology, such as a software package called Moodle that will allow parents to monitor children's grades, attendance records and homework assignments via the Internet, and a mobile computer lab introduced at St. Francis Intermediate.

The school system attracted more than 100 new incoming students this year, almost meeting its benchmark of 1,000 kids.

The Billings Catholic Schools Foundation executive director Jan Haider said the Foundation identified and awarded additional students with tuition assistance to fulfill an anonymous $40,000 grant that went toward the ACE Scholarship in August. The scholarship has served 59 students system-wide, 23 of which are new to the system.

A tuition review was discussed in a closed executive session after the regular meeting. Encouraging and accommodating growth is a top concern for the school system, which relies on tuition from parents for nearly half of its annual budget.

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