Washington School Board members Monday morning approved a $58.8 million spending plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The budget was adopted unanimously. Two board members, Susan Thatcher and Dan Contarini, were absent.
Public school districts in Missouri are required to have their budgets approved by July 1.
The new budget reflects total revenue projections of $51,610,323.47, while operating expenditures total $58,881,113.50.
District CFO Shelley Kinder said the expense total includes bond issue monies received, but not yet spent.
The district will deficit spend about $2.1 million, she said, but the budget projects an ending reserve balance of 28.52 percent.
“Which is extremely healthy,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer.
The new spending plan reflects approximately $1 million in salary increases, which averages out to a 2.5 percent pay raise for staff.
Health insurance also is projected to increase by 7 percent, or about $300,000, and transportation costs will be up about 2.5 percent, about $350,000.
The budget includes spending to complete several construction projects, as well as maintenance of facilities, repair and extensive roof projects.
The district also will continue to put money toward its digital conversion. Last year, all teaching staff received laptop computers. Now, the district will begin purchasing laptop carts for students in all third- and fourth-grade classrooms, as well at the middle school.
A breakdown of expenditures by all funds is as follows:
Salaries — $26.3 million, or 44.7 percent.
Benefits — $7.8 million, or 13.4 percent.
Purchased Services — $6.3 million, or 10.7 percent.
Supplies — $5.7 million, or 9.7 percent.
Capital Projects/Construction — $8.4 million, or 14.3 percent.
Debt Service/Lease Purchase — $4.1 million, or 7 percent.
Kinder said the new budget was built on several assumptions, including the state funding the foundation formula at 95 percent and assessed values being slightly up based on preliminary numbers.
“We were surprised to learn that assessed valuation is up, but we won’t have final numbers until August,” Kinder told the board.
Last year, the district was hit with an unexpected 7 percent drop in assessed valuation in Franklin County, despite it being a reassessment year. That equated to a $1.2 million loss.
The news is much better this year, Kinder said, with preliminary numbers showing a jump of 3 percent.
Another major factor impacting revenue in the new fiscal year — this time to the positive — is a one-time increase in locally assessed utilities value.
Kinder said the district will receive an additional $1.1 million for fiscal year 2015 due to restructuring at the Ameren power plant in Labadie.
The district continues to rely heavily upon local property taxes to support its operations, she said.
A breakdown of revenue by fund is as follows:
Local — $37.2 million, or 72.2 percent.
County — $1.7 million, or 3.4 percent.
State — $8.1 million, or 15.5 percent.
Federal — $3.1 million, or 6.2 percent.
Other — $1.2 million, or 2.44 percent.
In a written budget message, the superintendent said the district achieved a great deal in the 2013-14 school year, and has many things to be proud of, including passage of a no-tax rate increase bond issue in April 2013.
The bond issue allowed for the construction of a new Early Learning Center, which will open in August, a classroom addition at Marthasville Elementary, wireless technology installation districtwide and HVAC completion at Augusta Elementary.
Due to those projects coming in under budget and $2 million in bond proceeds, the district will soon break ground on a classroom addition at Washington West Elementary.
VanLeer said officials will continue to closely monitor the state’s budget, as well as district expenditures.
“Careful analysis of our tax levy and the methods in which we levy pennies to accommodate each fund will be critical in fiscal year 2015 and 2016 as well,” she stated.
“We believe this budget is in sound condition and we should be very thankful for our financial health during these challenging times,” VanLeer added.
The district will set its tax rate levy in August.