Big Horn County School District #1 in good financial shape

Erin Mullins

Big Horn County School District #1 is in good financial shape, reported Business Manager Richard Parker at the December 14 school board meeting.
Parker said that the general fund has nearly $2.5 million while the general reserve fund has $2.8 million.
Expenditures are slightly higher than last year because of an unexpected payment. However, taking into account that part of that unexpected payment was for the previous academic year, expenditures are only about 3.5% higher this year.
The Big Horn District 1 and the Wyoming Connections Academy calendars for 2024-2025 were approved. The District 1 calendar features spring break on April 2-4, which is after Easter. The reason the board opted for this date for break was because the earlier Easter break date led to students being in school for too long without a break. Wyoming Connections Academy does not have a formal spring break.
Board member Heidi Christensen said the board amended the transportation plan to add vaping to the list of the prohibited substances when riding the bus. The bus discipline policy was also changed to clarify that the principal was the one who would handle misconduct.
Medication administration policies were also updated, Christensen said. Wording was changed to allow medical providers other than physicians to administer medication. It was clarified that school personnel would assume no responsibility for side effects of medication. The policy was also updated to allow guardians, in addition to parents, to provide permission for students to use medication.
The copyrighted material policy was updated to include gender neutral pronouns regarding who could duplicate copyrighted materials, Christensen said. A section was added to clarify what copyrighted videos students can use for multimedia projects. Students are allowed to use videos that are less than three minutes long or less than 10 percent of the media.
The definition of a school day was changed, Christensen said. Many sections were removed to align the definition of a school day with Wyoming rules. The policy allows for flexibility in the length of a school day when approved by the board. School hours may be extended beyond the minimum hours, or opening and closing hours for school can be changed upon board approval.
New hires for the school district were approved. Sami Poulson was approved as a tutor paraprofessional for the 2023 school year for Rocky Mountain High School. Jerry Anderson was approved as special education paraprofessional, and Wyatt Horrocks was approved as a tutor professional for Rocky Mountain Elementary School.
Gerry Burton was approved as assistant middle school track coach for one season and Rod Winland was approved as a middle school boys basketball coach for Rocky Mountain Middle School. Kelsi Nelson and Nanette White were approved as tutor paraprofessionals for Burlington.
Certified Public Accountant Jason Lund presented on an audit what was done for the school district. Lund said that his company currently audits for 14 school districts in Wyoming. Government agencies and nonprofits that spend significant amounts of public money are required to have an audit done on their spending, he said.
Lund said that student activity transactions have to be reported to the audit. Audits also have to check that vendors who are making payments are reliable, not suspended or debarred. The audit checks that policies are up to date and payments are on time.
Cash request reimbursements for school districts can be complicated, Lund said.
It is a cumbersome and administratively burdensome process to request cash reimbursements, which can result in borrowing from the general fund to cover the costs during the processing period.
Lund also presented on financial statements. Lund reported that the district’s assets are a little bit higher than they were last year, going up by $1.4 million. The district is also in a small deficit when it comes to grant funds because the district was kind when it came to approving cash requests, he said.
The district has excess tax collections of $700,000, he said. Revenue for this year are slightly down, but so are expenses, resulting in a positive change in the fund balance of $1.7 million.