By Andi Bourne

SLE Board Discusses SLE Outside Income and Expense Report


SEELEY LAKE – Seeley Lake Elementary School Board discussed the SLE Outside store’s income and expense report for November 2015-November 2016 at their meeting Jan. 17. The board also accepted Sally Johnson’s resignation. Johnson will be retiring in April.

The Income and Expense Report for SLE Outside gave a revenue total of nearly $233,000. Expenses reported were nearly $243,000, a $10,000 deficit.

“With the dust settled after a year, I’m pleased with this number,” said Superintendent Chris Stout. “[SLE Outside’s] not just straight inventory versus sales.”

Stout explained that the numbers in the balance sheet don’t reflect the educational component of the store. He doesn’t feel it is a good reflection of whether the store is successful or not.

Stout said that some of the expenses that come out of the store are also used for Adventure Club and the SLE Outdoor Program. This includes the rental gear that is available to the public. Last summer students used the hiking, bikes, kayaks and paddle boards three days per week. This winter they are using the skis for the Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Team and after school activities.


Stout said this year there are 20 students that are doing the Jobs for Montana Graduates program with Michele Holmes who is a certified business teacher. They utilize the store a couple days a week. Six students were employed last summer.

“In the original intent of opening the store, the retail portion was very minimal,” said Stout. “In reality, the store was also meant to act as a community catalyst to do some things differently.”

Stout noted that more people are out kayaking, biking and paddle boarding because they have access to equipment. He also said SLE Outside was the catalyst for the Bob Marshall Music Festival, mountain bike races and a 50K run that will continue because they were successful enough for other organizations to pick them up and continue them this year.

Board Chair Todd Johnson asked for a further breakdown of the income and expense report including a break out of the inventory. This will be provided at the February meeting.

Stout estimated they have $25,000 in bikes, kayaks, skis and paddleboards. They are used in conjunction with the SLE Outdoor Program and came with the original inventory. He and other SLE staff are working on a document that outlines all the components of SLE Outside. This will be available on the SLE website, next week.

Chair Johnson said, “It’s an educational process what we are trying to do [at SLE Outside] and what that level of education is worth. It’s not all about the bottom line.”

Stout told the board his plan is to go through summer. Since the store made money last June, July and August, it makes sense to him to keep it open. The lease for the space is up in September so he feels that would be a good time to reevaluate.

Stout added that there is a foundation that sought the store out that would eliminate the deficit. He also said there are guaranteed donations that come from local fundraisers that will also help balance the shortfall.

SLE Outside, the outdoor program and the store, will be including in the strategic plan that SLE staff is currently working on. Stout hopes to present the board with a draft of the plan by March.

In other business:

• Sally Johnson will be retiring April 30. Johnson has worked for the school for 18 years. The board expressed their appreciation for all she has done for the school in her tenure, wished her the best and said they will begin the process of finding a replacement. “We have big shoes to fill,” said Johnson.

• Brett Haines and Tylen Dial were hired as the girls’ basketball and track coaches for this spring.

• Stout talked with Senator Sue Malek about her comments made at the Montana Department of Transportation Commission meeting in May regarding “troubled kids” working at SLE Outside. She apologized and said she made an assumption since a lot of the programs like this are for at-risk youth. The board did not take any action.

The board’s next meeting is Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Holmes and SLE Outside Store Manager Chris Mauldin will present on how the students are involved in the business of the store through the Jobs for Montana Graduates and provide an update on the store. The board will also receive a detailed breakdown of the assets.


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