Posted Date: 01/18/2023
Union Approves Capacity Levels for Out-of-District Transfers
Union’s board approved the capacity levels by school and grade level for out-of-district transfers as required under Senate Bill 783. Under a new state law passed last year, school districts must set their capacity for out-of-district transfers by January 1 and publish quarterly updates as to how many open seats are available under that capacity policy.
Under its new transfer policy, students who are already attending Union and move outside of the district’s boundaries will be given priority consideration since they have already been included in the student count. However, they will still have to apply for a transfer and provide their own transportation.
Districtwide, the capacity levels are set at 20 students per classroom for prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first, second and third grades; 23 students per classroom in fourth and fifth grades; 22 for each core subject in sixth grade; and an average of 27 students per core classroom in seventh grade and up.
According to Dr. Todd Nelson, Senior Executive Director of Research, Design and Assessment, Union has received 71 new applications for transfer since his last report to the Board. “Since the beginning of the school year, we’ve had about 106 students transfer in,” said Nelson. Overall, the district has had 695 total transfer students for the 2022-23 school year, about half of which are Union employees.
Capacity levels will be available on the district’s website at https://www.unionps.org/transfers, no later than Jan. 1, 2022.
Board Members Approve 2022-2023 Early Retirement Incentive Program; Accept Audit Report
The Board of Education approved the 2022-2023 Early Retirement Incentive program for employees, which will help the district save more than $234,985. Whereas the ERI program is designed for savings over a two-year period, the cost to fund the 2022-2023 program for certified personnel is $1.07 million. As of this writing, 12 teachers, 10 support employees and six administrators have signed up for the incentive.
In a separate matter, the Board accepted the 2021-2022 annual audit report by RSM US, LLP. Auditors found that Union complied, in all material respects, with requirements affecting each of its programs for the year ending June 30, 2022.
Dr. Trish Williams, chief financial officer, said, “The opinion of the auditors is unmodified with this report, with no significant deficiencies or any material findings, what we call a ‘clean audit.’ We are really pleased with this year’s reports.”
Williams provided a summary of the district’s finances, including all district funds – general funds, building, child nutrition, bond funds, etc. – except for medical/health insurance funds. “These statements present the district’s financial position on what we call a GAAP [Generally Accepted Accounting Principles], full accrual basis, so it’s different from what the board sees in its monthly reports when we talk about a ‘budgetary basis,’” said Williams.
From 2021 to 2022, Union had an increase in revenues in both program and general revenues. The district went from $187.7 million to $195.5 million, an increase of about $7.7 million. Since this includes all funds, those increases are spread out across all sources and all funds. Likewise, the district’s net position at the end of the year increased from $104 million to $120 million in 2022.
Union’s expenditures in 2021 were higher than in 2022, according to Williams. “In 2021, the Board had generously approved a 5% ‘challenging year stipend’ (beyond the regular retention stipend) for district employees, so that raised expenditure levels,” she said. “In 2021, the district raised expenditures as we were beginning to experience federal ESSER funds flowing into our district and the expenditures associated with that.”
Incumbent Heather McAdams to Run Unopposed for Zone 3 Office
The filing period for school board candidates in 14 Tulsa County school districts and Tulsa Technology Center ended last week (December 5-7). Current Board member Heather McAdams, District 3, filed for election and will be unopposed in the February 14 election.