The Lonedell R-XIV School District Board of Education approved a 2012-2013 budget that will spend about $44,500 less than it expects to bring in during the coming academic year.
Board members unanimously approved the new $4.89 million budget during their monthly meeting on June 26.
“You’ve heard me say this before, but we’re looking under every rock trying to save money,” Lonedell Superintendent Fred VanBibber said during the meeting. “We continue to want to help our students the best we can with the money we have.”
Projected revenues for the upcoming year total $4,937,935. Expenditures are estimated to be $4,893,339. The difference is $44,596.
The budget keeps the same payroll schedule for the 2012-2013 budget year. However, the budget does include step salary increases for teachers as well as a $1,000 stipend for certified and a $500 stipend for noncertified staff.
“This allows our teachers to take steps both across (for additional education hours) and down,” VanBibber said in referring to the district’s certified salary scale.
A first-year Lonedell teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes $29,000 per year. A teacher with a master’s earns at least $33,000. The maximum pay an R-XIV teacher can earn is $56,000. Under the current scale, that comes after 31 years of service.
The salary issue came up during the May meeting, and board members tabled making a decision until June.
During the most recent meeting, Lonedell teacher Tonya Dooley read a short statement representing the Certified Teachers Association before the board of education acted on the budget proposal.
“The staff would like to thank the board for listening to our concerns and taking everything into consideration,” Dooley read. “We understand that it is a difficult financial time for schools as it is for everyone. Any raises, either in the form of stipends or base increases, are truly appreciated.
“At Lonedell, we are able to benefit from the excellent insurance that is provided, a great schedule and the atmosphere of a small community. We appreciate that you always do your best to provide the best atmosphere for the students and the staff.”
Several teachers were in attendance for the June meeting.
VanBibber, who is getting ready to start his fourth year as R-XIV’s superintendent, earlier said starting pay for teachers in the district has remained unchanged since he became superintendent. The superintendent said before June’s school board meeting that he wanted to have a better idea of how the district’s 2012-2013 budget will look before he made his recommendation to the board on salaries.
“With the economy the way it is and our enrollment going down, things fluctuate,” VanBibber said.
VanBibber also said the district’s insurance costs are expected to increase by 12 to 14 percent in the new budget year. He said currently R-XIV’s insurance is fully paid for certified employees.
“It’s very good insurance,” he said. “We have to take that into consideration.”
The bottom line, the superintendent said, is for the district to spend what it needs to spend, see how it can save and still ultimately do what is best for the students.
“What we need to do with all this is determine how big our pie is and how then we’re going to cut it up.”
VanBibber shared with the board some projected budget numbers.
As far as revenue, current taxes are estimated to bring in $1.27 million with another $130,000 projected from late taxes. Total local revenue is estimated to be $1.99 million.
County funds should add another $222,025, state money is estimated to contribute $2.31 million, and federal money is expected to be another $407,000.
On the expense side, the two main items are elementary salaries at $1.28 million and tuition at $1.06 million. Next is transportation at $375,233 followed by special education at $374,959, maintenance at $332,878 and central office salaries at $293,957.
Food service is another $165,500.
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.