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Randall takes over as school's new leader; reduced outsourcing promises big savings

A two-month search has ended with the selection of Pamela Randall as Intercultural’s new leader. The board introduced her at its monthly meeting, July 19.

Randall takes the reins from Dayphne Burnett whose contract was not renewed following a series of controversial decisions. Board members said they were particularly irked by her dismissal of the school’s finance director, despite their support for the administrator.

Randall, a former principal at Live Oak elementary, thanked the board for its trust and promised to improve the school’s academic ranking.  The school’s performance score stands at 73.1, just below the minimum score of 75 mandated by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

A score of 75 or higher is needed in at least one of three areas: the school’s performance score, its assessment index (raw test scores, before attendance is factored in) or its rate of improvement in the performance score.

Academic scores outweigh other considerations.

A decision will be made by October whether to grant the school a three-year renewal of the  charter that expires next year.

Additionally, the board promised to provide more support to Randall in light of comments made by Burnett about lack of board involvement.

Kesha Rayfield and Diana Wilson have been named assistant principals.

In other business, financial director Tom Slager gave a report that included a summary of next year’s budget. He also suggested ways the school could cut costs to reduce its cumulative deficit.

As it closes the books on the past year, Intercultural expects a fund balance of $135,000. Revenues were higher than expected due to increased enrollment and the per-student funding that comes with it. A flourishing pre-kindergarten program was a contributing factor.

But expenses were also higher than expected. Employee benefit costs were among spending categories that rose.

Next year’s budget is $3.9 million, up from $3.7 million last year, a 4 percent increase.

The school expects 460 students, up from 421 last year. Salaries will jump slightly due to new hires and a proposed bonus pool for teachers. But the school expects to spend only $111,000 on in-house professional and technical services, including auditing and accounting. That’s down from $670,000 last year when those services were outsourced. The school also will spend less on food services by switching vendors.

Spending on supplies is expected to drop by 35 percent in the coming year as the school plans to purchase textbooks and other teaching materials directly, rather than outsource that job.

A fund balance of $199,000 is anticipated at the end of next year.

The board announced that the 2012-2013 budget draft would become available for public viewing on July 23.

A date has not been set for the public budget hearing.

The 90-minute meeting was attended by eight board members and eight members of the public, including a reporter from the Lens.

The next board meeting is August 16 at 6 p.m.

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