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McPherson Defends Community High Data

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In answer to recent questions about the costs for the new Community High School, Supt. R. Bruce McPherson said the present cost level for all schools would be maintained or even lowered with the Community High budget. This information was reported at Wednesday night's Board of Education meeting "to explain and clarify those items under question," said McPherson. During the past weeks there have been questions about the costs for the new school as compared to costs for Huron and Pioneer. On June 18, The News published financial figures prepared by the admin - - - istration about the Community High which have since been questioned by some members of the public and board members. McPherson said a figure of $11,648 in The News article for student transportation referred not to student transportaion to and from school but to transportatation to various educational activities in the community. He said that a $9,250 figure for to-and-from-school transportation costs, which are partially reimbursed by the state, should have been included in the figures provided to The News. Finally, he said a transportation budget cut left a final cost figure of $16,530. McPherson said transportation costsl listed by The News for Huron and Pioneer have been reduced. Furthermore, he said, the Pioneer figure had been overstated by $10,000. McPherson said discrepancies between I cost figures given to The News and I responding figures in the tentative 1 et were due to different reporting 1 ods. For example, the budget lumped I principal and counselor costs under the I heading "Principáis and Other 1 sionals Contracted" while The News 1 ported administrative and counseling I costs separately. "There continúes to be no allocation of library funds for C o m m u n i t y High ' - School," McPherson said. "The $20,000 that was reallocated to the public library was a reallocation, not a subsidy to the Community High School." He said Community High School students will utilize certain Huron and Pioneer facilities and vice versa. "A final question about the actual operating costs of Community High School confused planning and start-up costs with actual day-to-day expenses," McPherson said. "Except for capital costs related to converting the Jones facility into Community High School, all monies spent by the school will come from the district's operating budget. Many of these costs, however, are one-time start-up expenses, and cannot be used in eomparing the dayto-day operating budget with Pioneer and Hurón. Thus, salaries of the planning staff ($63,000) is a start-up cost which is listed in both budgets, but it would be an error to include them in a comparison of day-to-day expenses associated with running a school," he said. The total start-up cost for the community high school was listed as $238,294 and McPherson added that "careful study will show tbat the figures in the budget for the school correspond to the figures presented in the revised comparison of - opera ting costs of the three high schools." Not everyone was satisfied with the report, however, and Trustee Paul Carrington said that there are some real costs not reflected in the budget such as books which would be lost and the actual exchange of facilities between the schools. Another member of the audience, Terry Martin, questioned the superintendent as to "why there were so many errprs in the report that was released to the paper?" She also said that a more defined ( breakdown in costs was néeded and thatit didn't seem reasonable to place ninth graders in the high schools if a third high school was needed.