The USD 490 Board of Education discussed a couple of topics relating to this year’s and next year’s budgets during their meeting Monday evening.
The first item was year-end budget transfers.
“This time of year we need to reduce the general fund to zero,” said Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services. “We need to spend out of the local option budget all of the expenditures we budgeted for. If we don’t, we don’t get all of the state aid that flows through to the LOB.”
He said what they were looking at is preparing for the next school year, including supplies and equipment needs, as well as software they need to purchase to have it ready to go for the next school year.
The board approved authorizing end-of-year transfers, as well as allowing Doug Jensen, director of technology, to enter into a contract with Apple to approve the second half of the one-to-one laptop purchases for a lease purchase not to exceed $575,044. Last year they purchased new MacBook Air laptops for the juniors and seniors and this year they would purchase them for the freshmen and sophomores, along with the needed software. Also included in this was moving from iPods at the middle school to iPad minis.
In addition to items relating to this year’s budget, they heard about the 2014 budget.
Their full-time equivalency count was 1,915.1 students.
“We will use that next year to build our budget and be better than the average for the last three years,” Wilks said.
He said they don’t know what all of the weights will be.
“Another piece is from the federal government and we know Title I resources next year will be down about $42,000,” he said. “We used up some carry over of Title I funds last year to keep some of the building aids in our Title buildings for another year to see what happened. There will not be the opportunity to have the number of building aids for Title services at those schools in elementary and middle school.”
He went on to talk about the local option budget.
“Our LOB is driven by our local property tax and by state aid depending upon our wealth,” Wilks said. “The legislature has approved exactly the same allocation which means that as more districts access their LOB and are entitled to an increase in state aid, the state didn’t appropriate enough money to pay for all of that. This year we got about 80 percent of what we were entitled to. The expectation for next year is that it will be about 75 percent of what we are entitled to.
Page 2 of 2 - “Another fact put in the mix is the bonds that were financed for Skelly and the new middle school had a strong interest credit component. We will not get the full amount of that interest that we have been receiving.”
He said they would be short about $105,000 a year based on their current estimates.
“The amount of money we don’t get for the LOB and the amount we don’t get for that interest credit will require an increase in our mill levy to maintain the same expenditures,” Wilks said. “We don’t have a choice on the bond and interest side; we do have choices on the local option budget side.”
One other thing that will affect the budget is the assessed valuation, which they do not know yet.
“Not knowing the assessed valuation the increase will be 7/10s to 9/10s of a mill to replace the LOB money and interest credits we won’t get,” Wilks said.
This past year’s mill levy was 60.371, which was a minor reduction from the previous year. They also reduced the capital outlay from 5 mills to 4 mills so they could hold the line on the mill levy.
“When we start planning for the budget and estimate enrollment weights for the year we plan to do that conservatively so we don’t plan on a bunch of money that doesn’t materialize,” Wilks said.
One area the legislature did not change was new facility weights. That generates about $400,000 for the district, which they will receive again next year for Skelly. They plan to use that money to help pay for equipment at the new middle school because those weights would not be available in the middle of the school year when they will be moving. If they are still available the next year, they would receive them for the new EMS the following year.
The board gave its consensus while they would prefer the mill levy didn’t go up, they realized they didn’t have much choice. They wanted to minimize the increase.