Discussion about district land use continued at the H-BC School Board meeting Monday night.
The topic surfaced at a recent meeting when the board addressed CRP land agreements and heard a request by FFA (Future Farmers of America) to build a fence on the southeast corner of the property.
At that meeting, board member Tim Baker questioned the funds being used to pay for the fence. He further questioned why the board has never seen a formal agreement regarding the income earned from crops planted on the 40 acres north of the high school building.
At Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Todd Holtaus had more information about the land finances.
He said the district has been operating on a verbal agreement with the previous superintendent and FFA that the district and FFA share 50-50 in the profits and expenses.
The FFA fronts all expenses, such as labor costs, which have always been less than $1,000 per year. Local farmers donate their time and use of their equipment.
In 2010 expenses were $3,175.47 for the soybean crop. Revenues that year for both the district and FFA were $8,557.39 each.
In 2011 expenses were $5,017.74 on the corn crop. Revenues that year for both the district and FFA were $14,940.93 each.
In 2012 expenses were $8,700.32 on the corn crop. Revenues that year for both the district and FFA were $14,306.98.
In Monday’s discussion, Baker reiterated his concern over the lack of a written agreement for the land use, but board chairman Gary Esselink defended the arrangement.
“Most of that money comes back to the school,” he said, pointing to bleachers, a parking lot and trees that the FFA program volunteered time and paid for.
Baker countered that at a time when budget cuts are calling for staff reductions, that money should be considered for more essential purchases.
“I feel like if the district bought the land, it should be district expenses and district revenues,” Baker said. “We should have the income. That’s how I feel.”
He said he doesn’t support the notion that the FFA — despite it’s solid history — should have exclusive control of the funds. “If any class wants to use it for any purpose it should be able to,” he said.
Board members took no action at Monday’s meeting, but said they would continue to document the land use funds.