Fowler residents appear to be in favor of moving forward with updating the town’s school facilities, according to survey results recapped at the Fowler School Board meeting Monday.

For the plan to go into effect, voters in this year’s upcoming election would need to approve a $4 million bond, which would provide matching funds toward a Building Excellent Schools Today grant.

More than half of the 127 survey respondents said they would vote yes on the bond measure, it was announced Monday.

“I was pleased that we had this many people that took the time to respond and send it back,” said Superintendent Alfred Lotrich.

In the survey, some raised concerns about the potential increase in property tax, which would be $6.86 per month, or around $82.34 per year, for a home valued at $100,000.

Feedback also included apprehension about money being used on a new gym floor and track but not a new wrestling room, which they say is needed. No mention of a music program along with the aforementioned wrestling room were just a few of the negative statements received in the survey.

“Kind of have to take that with a grain of salt,” said Dorothy Sallee, member of the board.

No action on the Master Plan was taken during the meeting, due, in part, to the absence of two school board members. Plans are to continue discussion at the next meeting and, possibly, take a vote regarding putting the bond measure on the November ballot.

Other business during the meeting included the approval of two Special Education hires, Breann DeVore and Phylicia Mengel.

The hiring of new Assistant Volleyball coach Brianna Hobby was also authorized, and the retirement of Computer Assistant Cindy Fedde was approved.

The budget for the 2019-20 school year, as well as the revised budget for 2018-19, were unanimously approved.

The 2018-19 budget included a revision of $282,295 of expenditures for equipment purchased this spring, and $75,775 that was transferred from the general fund to the Capital Reserve Capital Projects Fund. Part of the reasoning for these revisions was the continued work on the Elementary School ceiling, which was delayed due to inclement weather.

The total budget for the upcoming school year will be around $7.6 million. Increases include $4,000 in the food service budget in response to minimum wage increasing in January. The insurance reserve fund will account for a majority of the budget, with $5.9 million.

Due to the poor weather that has continued to make its way to the area, property losses have risen for the sixth year in a row, and the district’s insurance premium will go up, as well.

A report from the Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool indicated that wind and hail losses account for approximately two-thirds of the property losses.

The rise in the premium will be $28,773. Despite the 26 percent increase, the board approved the expenditure 3-0.

Prior to the vote, members discussed the possibility of changing providers. However, the district needs to approve an insurance policy by July 1, so there wasn’t time to consider alternatives.

Endorsement for the workers’ compensation policy was also given, which is being affected by the rise in the state’s minimum wage. Because of this policy bus drivers should see a raise in wages. The new rate of pay for bus drivers will be $12.45 per hour, with substitute route drivers being paid $17 per trip of 1.5 hours or less, and $30 for longer trips.

The next meeting of the Fowler School Board is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 22 at the Fowler Elementary School.

jconlan@ljtdmail.com