FISHER — Fisher school Superintendent Barb Thompson relied on county board assurance that this year’s much-later tax distribution to schools will “not be the new normal.” So as she prepared the fiscal year 2020 budget she included an advance tax payment next June as income for the year.

Because school districts were not paid until after the new fiscal year began July 1, Thompson said last year’s budget ended up “red, red, red.” The education fund alone ended with a nearly million-dollar deficit. Thompson said district was able to cover that with reserve funds and did not have to take out a tax-anticipation warrant.

This year’s proposed budget shows the education fund $750,000 and operations and maintenance budget $437,000, both to the good, because it includes both last year’s and this year’s tax payments. But a more-realistic way to look at the education fund is to say it will end up with a $155,000 deficit if you count just one set of tax payments.

At any rate, Thompson said she may rework things before the school board holds a public hearing on the budget at 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17. She was one of several school superintendents who attended the county board meeting last week. She said the cause of the late bills and the late payments was actually a lot of new staff in the courthouse and a new software system. County board members told the school officials that next year’s schedule should be more like previous years.

Update on life safety work

Architect John Bishop and site supervisor Aaron Blythe of Adkisson Construction updated the board on what remains to be done on various life health safety projects. Bishop said the company “did yeoman’s work” in completing much of the project.

“There’s never enough time in the summer,” he said.

Cabinetry work remains to be done in the chemistry lab and the teachers’ lounge. It will be completed next month as will the installation of both new chillers in the grade school. Those units came in late. But the school will never be without air conditioning, and Thompson said she has secured an occupancy permit as construction proceeds.

Teachers hired

The board formally hired two teachers for the grade school the night before the students’ first day.

Rihanna Doman was hired to teach first grade and Miranda Drollinger sixth grade.

Principal Jim Moxley said. Drollinger worked for the district previously, moved away, but now has moved back. A third new teacher there, Tara Walters, used to work as an aid for the district, but has earned her teaching degree and will be teaching special education.

Junior Senior High Principal Jon Kelly said he has one new teacher on staff, Daniel Lyman, who will teach math. Kelly said also that a teacher committee is looking at a student-incentive program for good grades, behavior and attendance, Fast Fridays, that would permit qualifying students to leave school early on selected Fridays.

Kelly also said he is looking into the high school becoming a National Honor Society school. Currently students are rewarded for their academic accomplishments by membership in Beta Club. Kelly said he likes the Society because it has selection criteria beyond just grades.

Kelly said his school’s open house is set for Thursday, Aug. 29. Open houses set at the grade school were Tuesday, Aug. 20, for grades 2, 4 and 5 and Thursday, Aug. 22, for grades 1 and 3.

Other business

The board also raised certain athletic officials’ pay to be in line with other area schools.

And the board received the yearly booster club report. That organization contributed more than $20,000 to the district in the past year, and $120,000 over the past five

years. Club fundraisers include running the concession stand and hosting a cash bash and golf outing every year.

Moxley reported former board member Mike Rice moved playground mulch at the grade school for free and that football team members raked it out.