Leeds Board of Education hears Craft Academy presentation, passes budget

By Nathan Prewett, For the Tribune

LEEDS – A meeting of the Leeds Board of Education began with a presentation by representatives from Craft Academy, which recruits students and graduates to participate in industry job training.

Leeds Board of Education hears Craft Academy presentation, passes budget

Superintendent John Moore on Sept. 15, 2023 (Credit: Nathan Prewett)

“These are real programs that lead to real outcomes for kids,” said Superintendent John Moore. “And it has been a fabulous partnership.”

CA Administrator Russ Cofield spoke highly of Leeds High School’s participation in the academy, which focuses on training students with construction, electrical, HVAC, interior/exterior finishes, and welding and piping.

Over the past three years, 34 LHS graduates have been employed and more than 40 paid internships have been provided. During the 2021-2022 year, 17 of 16 participants from Leeds were credentialed through the National Center for Construction Education and Research, as were 21 of 25 during the 2022-2023 year.

“Leeds is the strongest partnership we have,” Cofield said. “We have schools from 4A to 7A, and Leeds is leading the way with the numbers in our program.”

More information on taking part in the program can be found at academyofcrafttraining.org.

Chief Financial Officer Ryan Miller gave a report on the financial status of the district during the month of July.

88.97% of the general fund revenues and other financing sources were received, along with 103.31% of the local revenues, up 6.16% in 2022. Expenditures and other fund uses in the general fund were 81.89% of the budget, under a target of 83%.

Accounts payable were $1,019,943. Gross payroll expenditures were $1,407,362. The month ended with an excess of revenues over expenditures in the general fund of $1,905,000. The unreserved fund balance was $6,050,905.

Afterwards, the board voted to approve the budget for the fiscal year 2024. On Aug. 30, the board held a special-called meeting in which Miller gave a presentation on revenue and expenses in the general fund, federal, state, local and capital sources.

No amendments were made to the proposed budget and so it was passed unanimously.

During his comments, Moore mentioned that the state is offering a grant program for education institutions and invited Sen. Dan Roberts and Rep. Susan DuBose to tour the athletic facilities, with him saying that DuBose has acknowledged the state of the bathrooms.

At a meeting on Sept. 6, the Leeds City Council rejected a $2 million proposal by the board to upgrade the athletic facilities, which would have included building a field house, though several council members said that the bathrooms were in need of renovations.

Additionally, the board authorized LHS Band Boosters to travel to a festival at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in March 2024 if a fundraising goal of $100,000 is met for expenses.

In other business, the board:

  • Renewed its milk and ice cream contract, and
  • Approved a bid from Ameritek for copy machines.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m., at the Leeds Board of Education Building located on 1517 Hurst Avenue.

Nathan Prewett can be reached at [email protected].