For the second straight year, the St. Clair R-XIII School District will operate on a budget that is slightly less than the year before.
Board of education members on Thursday night unanimously approved Superintendent Mike Murphy’s proposed 2012-2013 budget of $22.54 million. The figure is about 1.3 percent less than the $22.83 million budget approved a year ago for the current budget year that ends June 30. Two years ago, the R-XIII budget totaled $23.33 million.
The budget includes the Franklin County Cooperative.
During Thursday’s monthly board meeting, Murphy pointed out highlights of the budget to board members.
“Revenue exceeds expenditures in the budget design,” the superintendent said. “The recommendation I would make is to adopt this budget and move ourselves forward with some flexibility for this next year.”
Proposed revenue for the coming academic year is estimated to be $23.18 million. The difference between revenue and expenditures is about $640,000 in the black.
If the co-op budget is backed out, the R-XIII budget is $19.75 million. Revenue is projected to be $20.36 million. The difference is about a positive amount of $613,000.
The R-XIII school district operates out of four funds — operations, teacher, debt service and capital projects.
Currently, the new budget comes with a recommendation that the tax levy remain at $3.37 per every $100 of assessed valuation. The levy, which formally will be approved in August, again would break down into $2.05 for operations, 70 cents in the teachers fund and 62 cents for debt services.
The tax levy has not increased since the 2004-2005 academic year. The debt service fund has remained the same for a couple of years longer than that.
In addition, the budget reflects the result of the school district refinancing its bond structure. That decision was made in February, and getting a lower interest rate is saving the district more than $1 million in interest which allowed it to sustain the levy at the same rate.
“That has saved us,” Murphy said Thursday night.
Regarding assessed valuation, information supplied to board members at Thursday’s meeting showed the prior year figure from May 2011 was $144.3 million, which was a drop from 2010’s $146.6 million. The 2012 projection is back up at $147.32 million.
However, Murphy pointed out to the board that over the last five years, the assessed valuation numbers have remained stagnant.
“A historical review of our assessed valuation reflects a 2 percent increase since 2007,” Murphy said in his budget report, adding that the 2007 valuation level was $143,826,296.
“That is about as close to flat as flat can be without being negative,” he added Thursday night.
The new budget also allows for salary increases for district administration and staff. Earlier this year, those pay increases were approved by the board.
Budget information stated that the certified schedule base increased $350, and the new base teacher salary will be $31,000 annually. Step movement and educational advancement will also be allowed, resulting in an average salary increase of 2.5 percent.
In addition, administrative salaries will increase under the new budget. Assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals and the special education director will receive a 1.5 percent pay hike while Murphy’s salary will go up 9.5 percent.
As far as classified staff, one additional step will be added to non-certified salary schedules, which translates to an average increase of 2 percent.
Murphy also discussed the state’s school funding formula and the fact that it will be underfunded by $251 million for fiscal year 2013. He said because of that shortfall, among the steps taken by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be to distribute the state adequacy target of $6,131 per student at a proration factor of 91 percent.
Murphy concluded his budget report by saying that “although the R-XIII district has experienced shortfalls in revenues this year in both local and state levels, our goal will be to maintain exemplary programs for the children of our community. As we face future budgetary challenges, we are fully committed to lifelong learning to expand opportunities for our children in an ever-changing world. The support of our community, staff and students is critical for our collective success.”
Board members on Thursday gave Murphy the authority as the district’s chief financial officer to amend the 2011-2012 budget on June 30 to reflect actual revenue and expenditures on all line items.
The final figures will be brought to the board in July.
The board also gave Murphy the approval of transfers to the capital projects fund.