During the upcoming academic year, the St. Clair R-XIII School District plans to spend almost $1 million on capital improvements and take some money needed out of district reserves to help pay for those projects.

That decision was made by the local board of education when it met for its April meeting.

Capital is one of four funds R-XIII uses annually in preparing and following a budget. The others are operations, teacher and debt service.

“As a board, you need to decide whether you are comfortable with this,” Superintendent Mike Murphy said during the April meeting at the central office. “We’ve gone from having a great deal of flexibility to limited flexibility (with finances) during the last two years.

“What this (capital plan) does is take care of needs we have with existing monies (by using some reserves).”

In an additional move, the St. Clair school board decided this month to use monies in its current budget to get rid of existing capital debt by paying off its 2009 Certificates of Participation. Those funds were used for upgrades at the junior high school for window and lighting replacement and ceiling improvements. Some of the money also was used to help fund the turf project.

“It is important to indicate that we (will be) free of debt in Fund 4 that is supported by the operating fund,” Murphy told The Missourian. “We still have debt in Fund 3 (debt service) that is supported by our 62-cent levy.”

The district’s overall tax rate is $3.37 per every $100 of assessed valuation. The other tax levy amounts are $2.05 in operations and 70 cents in the teachers fund.

Both board decisions on April 11 were unanimous.

Capital Fund

An early budget projection Murphy shared with board members showed that the district would have to deficit spend close to $375,000 in the capital fund in 2013-14 with the plan that was approved during April’s meeting. Capital improvements in the plan include roof repairs to the high school as well as general and instructional equipment, technology equipment and upgrades and transportation needs.

“These numbers are an estimate,” Murphy said.

The superintendent said R-XIII currently has about $2.5 million in capital improvement needs throughout the district.

“We’ve pared these down to below $1 million,” he said.

Specifically, the roofing repair bid board members accepted this month totals $310,218, or almost one-third of the overall capital expense plan, and covers about 18,600 square feet of roofing divided into three sections. The sections cover the band room, cafeteria, eight classrooms and adjoining hallways.

The bid was awarded to Lakeside Roofing Inc. of Collinsville, Ill., which easily turned in the lowest of four proposals received. The other quotes ranged from $405,700 to $459,000 for the same scope of work.

Also, the approved capital plan includes $296,750 for computer equipment and $140,000 so the district can purchase two used but newer buses. Murphy said computers in the district are on a five-year rotation replacement plan. The other expenses are for miscellaneous items throughout the school buildings.

A year ago, the R-XIII school district cut its capital spending in half in an effort to save money. When Murphy put together the 2012-13 budget, about $1 million was allocated for capital improvements. But, board members slashed that amount in half and limited projects that were to be completed.

The district’s 2012-13 overall budget approved by the board of education last June was $22.54 million.