$81-million budget proposed for schools

Superintendent Kevin Smith proposed an $81,107,310 budget for 2016-17 — a $1,151,297 or 1.44% increase over the current $79,956,024 budget.

The primary budget drivers in Smith’s proposed budget, which he presented to the Board of Education on Dec. 17, were contracted salary increases, purchased professional services, other purchased services and employee benefits.

The superintendent’s proposed budget breaks down as follows:


  • Salaries: 60.3%.

  • Employee benefits: 16.9%.

  • Contracted services, outplacement supplies and equipment: 14.2%.

  • Transportation: 4.8%.

  • Buildings, operations and facilities: 2.8%.

  • Substitutes: 1%.


Smith pointed out that 25% of his proposed budget is contained in special services.

The school district received 70-75% of its excess cost reimbursement over the last four years, according to Smith, and anticipates a 2016 state reimbursement of $980,000 more or less.

Salaries


With 76.9% of the proposed budget allocated to staff salaries and benefits, Smith proposed spending $49,677,880 on salaries next year — an increase of $482,814 or 0.98% over the current year.

At 2.38%, administrators would receive the highest increase, while substitute salaries would decrease by 6.43%.

The proposed budget reflects a decrease of 6.65 FTE (full-time equivalent), which would save the district an estimated $476,477.

Employee benefits


With 500 school district employees expected to be enrolled in the district’s health plan in 2016-17, Smith proposed $13,703,882 for employee benefits — a $112,085 or 0.88% decrease over the current year.

Smith noted that 95% of employees are currently enrolled in the high-deductible plan, which, according to Financial Director Ken Post, is "$2,000 for single coverage and $4,000 for employee plus one dependent, or family coverage."

Smith noted that the district’s transition to the plan is expected to bring $1.5 million in savings.

In his proposed budget, Smith allocated $10,360,782 to health and life benefits, a 1.33% increase over the current year; and $125,000 to tuition reimbursement, a 25% increase; and $310,000 to the other post-employment benefits (OPEB), a 0.04% increase.

His proposal reflects a $279,190 decrease in retirement funding for classified staff and a $4,000 decrease in other benefit areas.

Social security and Medicare, unemployment, and workers compensation would remain the same, at $1,490,000, $35,000 and $250,000 respectively.

Professional and property services


Smith proposed spending $4,065,946 on professional services — a $393,957 or 10.73% increase over the current year. Special education legal fees, independent evaluations and services to students would account for 43% of the increase, contracted computer services would account for 49%, and professional development would account for the remainder.

The superintendent proposed spending $1,256,742 on property services — $33,315 or 2.72% over the current budget. The proposed budget allocates $539,962 to property repairs and protection, representing a $5,860 decrease; and increases spending in the following areas:


  • Cartage: $108,000 (10.77% increase).

  • Remodeling and major repairs: $326,000 (3.49% increase).

  • Equipment repair and rental: $221,229 (3.22% increase).

  • Facilities rentals: $61,551 (21.21% increase).


Supplies


Smith proposed a $104,079 or 7.02% increase in supplies spending — from $1,482,741 to $1,586,820 in 2016-17. The proposed supplies budget breaks down as follows:

  • General supplies: $671,789 (8.73% increase).

  • Printing and publishing: $16,200 (4.71% decrease).

  • Audiovisual instructional materials: $177,465 (19.45% increase).

  • Testing supplies: $46,123 (21.84% decrease).

  • Textbooks and workbooks: $383,050 (3.07% increase).

  • Library books and periodicals: $73,723 (5.50% increase).

  • Professional books and periodicals: $14,470 (34.11% increase).

  • Cleaning and maintenance supplies: $204,000 (8.51% increase).


Smith said increases in general supplies and audiovisual instructional materials are mostly driven by the technology budget and would be partially offset by a decrease in testing supplies.

Transportation


Smith proposed spending $4,106,790 on transportation for the 2016-17 year, reflecting an overall increase of 40.72%.
The proposed transportation budget includes a $266,323 increase in special education transportation — reflective of an increase in outplaced students, and a $95,282 contractual increase in basic transportation.
In these three areas, the proposed budget allocates the following:

  • $2,954,404 for basic transportation.

  • $978,134 for special education transportation.

  • $174,252 for athletic and other transportation.


The proposed budget notes that 2016-17 will be the final year of the district’s five-year transportation contract.

Other purchased services


At $9,646,943, Smith proposed a $215,169 or 2.28% increase in spending for other purchased services. The transportation budget falls under this category, as well as funding for tuition, utilities, property/liability insurance, participation fees and “other” services.
For special education tuition, the proposed budget allocates $3,716,671 — a $148,696 decrease over the current budget — and $16,432 to other tuition, which reflects a $592 increase.
As for property/liability insurance, the superintendent proposed a $32,500 increase in spending — from $301,500 this current fiscal year to $334,000 in 2016-17. This increase would be offset by a $32,500 decrease in utilities spending, for which Smith allocated $1,636,000.
For "other" services, $13,550 would be allocated under the proposed budget.