The Union R-XI School Board Wednesday night approved a $38.6 million budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Superintendant Steve Bryant labeled the new spending plan as “fiscally conservative.”
“The proposed budget was designed with a strong awareness of the financial uncertainty of an ever-changing economic climate, as well as changes in the state and federal funding initiatives,” Bryant stated in his budget message to the board.
The budge was approved unanimously.
The budget reflects revenue projections of $30,466,728, which comes mainly from local sales taxes, state funding, county taxes and federal aid.
Total expenditures are projected at $38,667,882.36 budget, which includes $8 million in bond issue monies. District patrons passed a bond issue this past April for major improvements and upgrades to buildings throughout the district.
Bryant said this year’s budget does include some minimal deficit spending, around $500,000, but the district has remained conservative enough over the past year to end the current year with about a 35 percent reserve fund balance.
Bryant is projecting reserves to be about 30 percent for the 2013-14 ending budget.
The superintendent said the district took “a bit of a hit” this year due to an approximate $10 million drop in assessed valuation. This equates to about a $370,000 loss for the district.
Proposition C funds, money from the state based on average daily attendance, will be about $833 per student, which is about the same as last year.
Bryant said average daily attendance was about 94 percent districtwide last year.
State aid for the district is projected at $9.1 million, up from $8.7 million received last year.
The district’s total expenses are expected to be around $30.6 million, setting aside the $8 million in bond money.
This includes an average 7.5 percent average pay increase in teacher salaries, with a base pay raise of $2,500 for entry level teachers.
Bryant said the raises were made possible through the increase in Proposition C money, a build up of the district’s reserves and no increase in health care costs.
In addition, Bryant said improving the district’s buildings and facilities will keep the district from having to dip into the capital improvements fund for repairs.
The superintendent stated in his budget message that the primary goals for the new school year are student safety, student achievement, appropriate educational facilities and prioritized instructional improvement.
Specific areas of enhancement include improvement in the vocational areas, both middle school and secondary levels, added support in assessing student need for all levels of learners, improvement in at-risk and special education services, maintaining optimum class sizes whenever possible, and increasing technology and media services/opportunities in all grade levels.