JCS first budget workshop covers a lot of ground

— In high school, they've lost art, home and career, and math and science electives.

Cafeteria Manager Karen Moore was also worried about staffing. She's been working at JCS for eight years, and when she first came on there was an additional employee in her department. After that person retired, Markwica and Moore decided to add a few hours to current staffers' schedules rather than seek a new employee as that would have raised insurance and other costs.

That was with some expectation for demands on the cafeteria to drop. With the addition of a pre-k program and a Head Start program that both use the onsite meal service and a higher number of faculty and staff getting meals from the lunch line, the kitchen is producing just as much food as ever.

Challenges the finance committee will face in figuring this year's numbers are the rising costs of health insurance and increased costs to the school from pensions. Markwica said increases there will offset the state aid amount they're receiving this year.

The 2 percent tax levy-increase cap is another challenge, and Markwica said the finance committee will try its hardest to stay under the cap. But for now, they're waiting on more detailed information on the increases they'll be dealing with, which Markwica said they expect that information by the mid- or late-February.

The next School Board meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, followed by a budget work session at 7 p.m. to deal with special education, sports, transportation, supplies and contractual obligations.

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