City Schools OKs new Heartland agreement

By Joseph Slacian

Wabash City Schools has approved a new operating agreement with the Heartland Career Center.

The school board, at its Feb. 6 meeting, unanimously approved the new agreement, which began in 1965 and was updated once since then.

“The state had talked about … you need to update the agreement,” Superintendent Jason Callahan told the board.
One of the things that came up, he said, was back in 1965 school funding was almost exclusively done with local taxes.
“As you know, only about 30 percent of our budget is built on local taxes,” he continued. “The rest is state level and based, really, on our number of students. Our calculation was that 65 percent of our budget was built on A Daily Membership, which is our students, and then 35 percent built on AV (assessed valuation).

Under the new agreement, City Schools budget is now 75 percent based on ADM, with the remaining 25 percent coming from assessed valuation.

“We will see a 5 percent increase, which is not a large increase to our Heartland budget,” Callahan said. “But we do see an increase.”

Peru, Wabash and Manchester “is about a wash,” he continued. “North Miami and MSD will see a slight decrease in the budget.”

Wabash City Schools has 88 students currently enrolled at the Heartland Career Center. That is about 19 percent of the overall enrollment.

The board also approved a joint service and supply agreement with the Wabash Miami Area Program for Exceptional Children (WMAP).

“This action is really semantical and cleaning up some language in the agreement,” Callahan said. “The largest thing that this does … probably the most public, is it allows Manchester back into the Wabash Miami Area Program.”

In December 2016, the Manchester Community Schools board voted to withdraw from the program. It later rescinded that action and voted to remain with WMAP.

“After getting some legal advice on the agreement, we believe the best action was to rewrite the agreement to allow Manchester back in,” Callahan said. “They never really left. They were to leave at the end of the year. So (allowing Manchester back in) is what this is doing.”

The agreement notes that a governing board instead of an advisory board oversees the program, he continued.

Posted on 2018 Feb 13