Harrison school approves 2018-2019 budget

Tax decrease on tap for next year, student numbers up from 2017-18

HARRISON—The Harrison school board held its last monthly meeting before the start of the new school year on Monday, August 13, and the primary item on the agenda was the approval of the annual budget for fiscal year 2019, which looks slightly smaller than last year’s.

“I like the idea of having a noticeable tax decrease for our taxpayers,” said superintendent Fred Hofman, noting that Harrison didn’t vote on any mill levies this year. The total budget, which contained 216.85 mills, was reduced to 209.86. 

Hofman noted that some of the school’s funds still have some leftover funds in them, and that being frugal this year will lead to the potential for a larger budget in fiscal year 2020. 

One expense already approved for the 2019 budget is the purchase of a large SUV to replace one currently used as an e-bus for Harrison District. 

That vehicle will cost around $27,000 of the district’s transportation fund, which holds just under $190,000 but will also provide some reimbursement opportunities as the old vehicle is retired and depreciated.

The board also approved several staffing changes, including hiring a new volleyball coach. Jaci Nesbit will coach Harrison’s volleyball team, which will have nine athletes this fall. 

Marcie Clark was approved to fill the position of head cook, and Marsha Atkinson was hired as assistant cook. Clark has served as assistant for several years and is familiar with Harrison’s kitchens and system.

As school districts around Madison County gear up for the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the board noted that Harrison will hold its annual back-to-school barbecue on Tuesday, August 21.

The event will begin with an open house from 4-5:30 p.m., followed by the barbecue from 5:30-7 and a parent meeting in the school at 7 p.m. 

Other Harrison school board business included:

• An annual review of the school’s safety plan, which includes sections on earthquake responses, active shooter preparedness, fire drills and explosives threats. The plan is posted in various offices around the school.

• The addition of two more students to the middle school. Harrison’s student population was 73 last year and has grown to 79 for 2018-2019.

• A superintendent’s report from Hofman, which included a potential opportunity for Harrison to add new equipment to its playground. The Bozeman Boys’ and Girls’ Club is remodeling one of its playgrounds and Harrison is in line to be the recipient of a donation of lightly used equipment. “It sounds like we might be in line if we want it,” said Hofman. “There’s nothing for sure yet but we’ve got a lead.” The transfer of any equipment wouldn’t happen until next school year at the earliest. 

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