School Board Okays $43 Million Budget - The Missourian: Local News

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School Board Okays $43 Million Budget

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 6:30 pm

The Meramec Valley School Board approved a preliminary budget for the 2014-15 school year at its June 18 meeting.

The budget will serve as a financial guide for the upcoming school year, according to Joel Cracchiolo, business manager.

Total revenue and expenses include $35,634,110 in revenue and $43,426,534 in expenditures.

The new spending plan goes into effect July 1, 2014.

The district will spend $7,792,424 more than it receives in new revenue, Cracchiolo said, but of that, $5.6 million is money remaining from Proposition M, which is being spent on the high school expansion project currently in progress.

The remaining $2 million is considered deficit spending, which is made possible by the district’s reserve policy.

The budget is termed “preliminary” because it was set prior to the close of the fiscal year on June 30, 2014, and official assessed valuation information from the counties the district takes in, Cracchiolo said.

Budget amendments will be brought to the board for approval as needed throughout the year, he said.

Revenue

Operating revenues include 55 percent local, 33 percent state, 4 percent county and 8 percent federal.

Some 72 percent of the local funds are based on real estate and personal property tax collections. The district is at its maximum tax levy amount of $4.31 per $100 assessed valuation, which was approved by voters.

Assessed valuation estimates show that real estate and property taxes are flat. The new construction estimate is based on a three-year average estimate new operating revenue at $100,000.

Over 90 percent of the district’s state revenue is based on the state education foundation formula.

“Unlike most years, legislators disagreed with the governor on how much tax revenue Missouri is likely to receive over the next year,” Cracchiolo said. “As a result, a two-tier budget plan that includes a minimum amount for public school, based on the legislative revenue projects, and a maximum amount based on the governor’s more optimistic projections, has been adopted at the state level.”

Tier 1 will add $115 million to Missouri’s $3.1 billion in aid to public schools.

“This is an extraordinary increase compared to recent history,” Cracchiolo said.

Tier 2 would allow schools to get up to a $278 million increase if revenues meet Gov. Nixon’s projections.

A slight increase is projected in state sales tax over previous years. The state is estimating a 4.3 percent increase in the 1-cent sales tax the state collects for Missouri school districts.

The revenue budget includes $18,852,532 from local taxes, $12,748,741 from the state and $2,599,336 from the federal government.

State revenue includes $385,000 for school age childcare, $314,600 for the early childhood center,  $475,000 for transportation and $12,318 for food service.

Funds from the federal government include $773,144 for the school lunch program, $235,079 for the school breakfast program, $591,321 for the Title I program and $50,000 for the JROTC program.

Expenditures

Four expenditure categories account for 100 percent of the district’s operating expenditures, including wages and benefits, 77 percent; supplies, 13 percent; purchased services, 7 percent; and capital, 3 percent.

The district expects to spend $7,369 for each full-time employee, which covers the full cost of health/dental premiums.

Approximately $6 million will be the final expenditures from the $15.31 million Proposition M general obligation bonds approved by voters in April 2010.

The current Pacific High School expansion project will use all the remaining Proposition M money.

The construction project will add a new 13,780-square-foot cafeteria, food service area, a 5,290-square-foot vestibule and lobby, along with a 3,245-square-foot administrative suite that includes a nurse station and sickroom.

Due to flat funding from the federal government, the district will spend $150,000 more on the Title I program than it receives.

The district will spend $191,905 for the Parents as Teachers program.

Teacher salaries range from $31,600 to $63,200 based on years of service, education level and term of contract.

“The district administrative team is working diligently to develop plans to increase revenue and/or reduce expenditures,” Cracchiolo said. “With limited new revenue opportunities, a reduction of personnel to coincide with decreasing enrollment in the way of natural attrition is required.”

Based on June enrollment, seven positions were removed from the budget due to natural attrition, including three classroom aides, one special education teacher, one speech teacher and two kindergarten teaching positions.

If enrollment increases, a position may be needed to be added back, Cracchiolo said.

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