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Roughrider Education Services Program approves $631,000 budget

After issues gathering a quorum at its Governing and Administrative Board meeting on Wednesday at the Dickinson State University campus, the Roughrider Education Services Program unanimously passed its 2013-14 budget of $210,347, effective July 1.

It also unanimously passed the Succeed 2020 grant budget of $421,288, which is serviced by the RESP office, but runs on separate funds.

The combined budgets are $631,635.

The board met a small roadblock when handed a revised budget to allow RESP to hire an educational facilitator at a higher rate than advertised.

RESP had been searching for an educational facilitator for "a long time," director Amy Axtman said. She believed she found the perfect candidate, who was ready to accept the position, but had to decline it because it only offered individual insurance and not family insurance.

"She has experience as an administrator, as a technology instructor and as an instructor of common core in her districts," Axtman said.

Axtman's solution was to offer the candidate more days in her contract and add duties to the position. The benefits would not change, but it would increase salary.

"The current position is at 182 days and so I would like to increase that to make it 210 days," Axtman said. "It would be an increase of $3,000 to the RESP budget and an additional $3,000 to the Succeed 2020 budget. In both budgets there is enough wiggle room to do that."

Because of the change, some were unsure of passing the amended budget Axtman distributed at Wednesday's meeting. The board decided to pass the original budget and allow revisions, possibly through a special meeting, to address any personnel changes.

"Keep in mind that the budget is a dynamic document," board chairman William Gion of Mott-Regent said. "We can come back -- and probably will be back."

The board was also trying to find creative ways to increase the candidate's pay without completely changing the position. Tony Krebs of Belfield suggested offering a second contract, similar to a coach's contract at a school, for extra work done.

RESP will most likely have to open the position again.

There were concerns from Judy Hoff of Richardton-Taylor that RESP is still leaning too heavily on Succeed 2020 funds to support day-to-day office functions.

"A majority of our employees do work for Succeed 2020 at this point -- it's almost like 70 percent-30 percent -- because of that the group really felt that Succeed 2020 does need to help with those office expenses and help pay for those things that we need to keep our business running," Axtman said.

This coming fiscal year will be the second of five years for grant.

"As we move through the grand period, we will need to start making some shifts probably to shift more of that to RESP as we take on -- looking at the sustainability of our programs," Axtman said. "But hopefully we'll be able to convince you that it's a good investment."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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