School board to hold public hearing May 22 on $28.5 million budget

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board okayed publication of their updated proposed Fiscal Year 2019 total budget of $28,529,956 at their Thursday, May 10 meeting. The school system’s total budget increased $55,251 from the total preliminary budget that the board considered at their budget work session.

Their proposed total budget now has an estimated general current expense fund revenue of $24,093,094 and a projected $4,436,862 special revenue fund.

School Treasurer Ann Bell said the budget increase is due to specific amounts for Title 1, Title 2 and Title 4 federal funding that were just received.

The total budget is some $841,054 more than it was in Fiscal Year 2018. The total budget is actually $25,856,594 without the $2,673,362 unfunded retirement liability that schools are required to carry as a paper-only budget line item, Bell noted. No money changes hands between the state and the school district.

Budget public hearing

A public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget is scheduled for the school board’s Tuesday, May 22 meeting which begins at 7 p.m. at the school board office. The budget will be formally adopted later during the meeting.

The school budget is published in today’s edition of The Morgan Messenger and is also posted on the county school website. Paper copies can be acquired at the school board office.

Revenue

The general current expense fund revenue includes a projected $4,875,293 in regular school levy property taxes, $4,123,432 in special levy taxes, $812,500 in prior year taxes, $13,575,123 in total state aid, $50,000 in Medicaid reimbursements and an estimated $450,000 carryover fund balance, Bell said. Last year’s carryover fund balance was $300,000.   Total estimated tax revenue from the combined regular school and special levies is down $52,085 from last year.

A total state aid increase of $621,120 is mostly paying for the state’s 5% increases in school professional and service personnel salaries that came from the statewide school employee walkout.

Projected revenue from Medicaid reimbursements was half of last year’s revenue, Bell said. Revenue from federal sources was also down $50,000 and estimated state PEIA allocations revenue decreased $65,195. Projected special revenue increased $64,927 from last year.

Expenditures

Estimated school expenditure categories include $14,433,509 for instruction; $2,580,597 for facilities operations and maintenance; $1,912,582 for student transportation; $1,166,881 for student support services; $1,506,263 for school administration; $829,347 for instructional staff; $360,856 for central services; and $335,131 for central administration.

Some $19,847,880—82.38% of the budget—will go toward personnel salaries that include professional and service personnel salaries, substitute costs, supplemental salaries for coaches, afterschool tutors and extracurricular duties as well as benefits that include health insurance, retirement benefits, Social Security, Medicare and dental/vision insurance. Bell said that school systems are required to spend at least 80% of their budget on salaries and benefits.

Special revenue fund

The $4,436,862 special revenue fund includes Title 1, Title 2 and Title 4 funding, Step 7 instructional improvement monies, Step 7b technology funding and funding for special education, child nutrition, bus replacement, career technical education, alternative education and the 21st Century Learning grant for the middle school and high school after-school program.

Bell said this year is the last year for the five-year 21st Century Learning grant, which decreases in funding each year. School officials will have to reapply for the grant.

Special levy

The total estimated revenue of the special levy for Fiscal Year 2019 is $4,147,298-some $23,866 less than last fiscal year’s estimated special levy revenue.

The special levy call designates $1,904,637 for employee salary supplements; $1,137,438 in positions/support for critical educational programs that include alternative education and prevention resources and behavioral, academic and remedial support; $500,000 for facilities maintenance; $400,000 for instructional materials and supplies and $125,000 for technology.

Major expenditures

Major proposed general current expense fund expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2019 are $9,658,455 for professional regular salaries, $2,484,565 for service personnel regular salaries, the $2,673,362 unfunded retirement liability, $1,412,876 for health/life insurance premiums, $991,931 for social security matching, a total of $956,588 for retirement plans, $658,540 for electricity and $464,441 for the retiree health benefit trust.

Other large expenses include $243,225 for professional supplemental salaries, $221,050 for professional substitutes, $265,737 for non-technical repair/maintenance service, $217,993 for textbooks, $198,650 for other professional services, $192,500 for service personnel substitutes, $190,743 for QZAB loan repayment/lease purchase payment, $179,930 for diesel vehicle fuel, $160,865 for general supplies and $103,000 for data communication services.

Increased, decreased costs

Professional regular salaries increased $323,781 from last year and service personnel regular salaries increased $156,316, mainly from the state 5% increase which was $2,020 for teachers and professional employees and $1,100 for service employees.

Additional monies were budgeted for professional contracted services for legal fees, speech pathology services and a contracted psychologist along with non–technical repair and maintenance services and textbooks, Bell said.

Some   $70,000 less was budgeted for electricity due to $175,000 savings in electricity since March of last year with the energy management project. Local child nutrition costs decreased with increased breakfast participation. Bell said $60,000 is reserved for contingencies in case something major would occur.

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