When Jen Ulrich takes over as the Lonedell R-XIV School District superintendent on Monday, she will be working with a $4.828 million budget that projects a deficit of about $28,000.
The Lonedell board of education approved the 2013-14 academic year budget during its June meeting on Monday. Current Superintendent Fred VanBibber, who is retiring effective July 1, worked with Ulrich and the school board in putting together the projected revenues and expenses for the coming year.
“We’ve been pretty good stewards of our money,” VanBibber said. “I’m satisfied with our finances. I think this is a pretty good budget.”
The budget is slightly less than the 2012-13 budget. When it was approved last June, it totaled $4.89 million.
Projected revenue for the coming year is about $4.8 million. It includes a drop in local assessment figures as well as underfunded state assistance.
However, the new budget includes a $1,000 base rate pay increase for teachers and a 10-cent-per-hour raise for noncertified staff. The salary hike for teachers is the first in VanBibber’s four-year tenure.
A first-year teacher in the R-XIV district will earn $30,000 this fall. A teacher with a master’s degree will start at $34,000 annually. The maximum pay an instructor in the district can earn is $57,000.
“We’ve really been conservative with how we’ve spent our money,” VanBibber said. “That’s why we’re in the pretty good financial shape we’re in. I believe Jenny and the board will continue that tradition.”
VanBibber also said, however, “But we’re also pleased that we could give the raises to staff.”
The budget includes $100,000 for capital projects which will continue to improve the safety and security of the school as well as address items that need attention. In 2012-13, Lonedell beefed up its security by adding a state-of-the-art phone system, better video surveillance and new windows and doors in some areas.
VanBibber said plans are for the gymnasium parking lot area to be paved, current asphalt parking areas to be resurfaced, current exterior lighting to be improved and some additional new windows. He said the school’s roof also will need to be checked.
As far as health insurance, VanBibber said costs are going up about $50 per employee per month.
The largest expense for the district is teacher salaries at $1.28 million. Tuition to other school districts is expected to come in at about $950,000 while transportation adds another $362,000 and special education tacks on $333,000. Food service adds up to $160,000.
VanBibber said income is led by state revenue at $1.866 million. Local revenue checks in at $1.262 million, federal revenue is estimated to be $440,000 and county revenue adds another $150,000.
“We’re facing a significant decrease in funding,” the superintendent said. “But so is everyone else.”
VanBibber also said the budget was designed with the same local tax rate. Currently, Lonedell residents pay $3.69 per every $100 of assessed valuation. That breaks down into $3.48 in the operations fund and 21 cents in the debt service fund.
The tax rate officially will be set in August.
The district will save some money through salaries because VanBibber’s pay of nearly $100,000 is not being replaced. Ulrich and Sue Emmons, who is the new principal starting on Monday after being the special education coordinator the past several years, are going to continue to combine forces.
Ulrich will handle the superintendent duties as well as some of the principal responsibilities while Emmons will handle the majority of the principal functions and keep an eye on special education.
Ulrich will make $95,000 in 2013-14 while Emmons will be paid $72,000.
During its June meeting, the board also approved a motion to adjust final current year budget amounts to equal the actual expenditures and revenues by fund and line item.