District 15 schools budget reduced by more than 2 percent

The St. Francis School District 15 School Board voted unanimously June 25 to approve its 2012-2013 district budget.

The district’s general fund budget expenses will be approximately 2.07 percent less than the fiscal year 2012 budget of $48,291,987.

The 2012-2013 revenues are expected to be $47,368,406 and expenditures $47,368,$406, which is $1,236,494 less than last year.

Although the budget includes a $50 per student increase in the general education aid as well as in the compensatory education aid for 2012-13, the district enrollment is projected to decline, according to Mae Hawkins, district business affairs director.

The budget’s revenue is based on an average daily membership (ADM) of 4,920 students.

The 2011-2012 budget was based on ADM of 4,980 students.

According to Hawkins, the budget also includes a projected increase of $254,623 for literacy aid revenues and non-federal revenues are projected to decline by $672,200, which include a $146,000 decrease in federal jobs funds, a decrease in federal title programs and an increase in special education federal funds.

Positions paid for with the federal jobs funds will be phased out, she said.

Federal revenue sources are expected to drop from $1,973,597 to $1,967,120.

Title programs are expected to decrease by $81,224 and special education federal revenues are projected to increase by $106,879, Hawkins said.

The district received about 7 percent of its revenues from the federal government and 76 percent from the state in 2010-2011 school year.

Last year, the district received 4 percent of its revenues from federal sources and 83 percent from the state.

In the new school year, the federal sources will remain at 4 percent, but state revenue will increase to 85 percent.

Although total revenue is declining, how the district spends its money will remain the same with 73 percent of the budget going to instructional/classroom expenditures and 9 percent going to sites and buildings.

Approximately 8 percent of the budget goes to student support services, 6 percent to district support services and 3 percent to district and school administration expenses.

But those expense line items will be reduced to reflect the decline in enrollment and changes in revenue.

Regular instruction funding in the elementary and secondary schools will be dropping 4 percent from $22,967,677 to $22,086,714.

Vocational instruction will be reduced from $828,538 to $681,445, about 18 percent.

Student support services, sites and building and the fiscal and other fixed cost programs budgets will be reduced 3 percent.

There are a few budget categories receiving increases.

The instructional support services will be receiving a 6 percent increase, changing from $2,037,924 to $2,157,253, and the district and school administration budget will be increasing from $1,513,997 to $1,537,326.

The 2012-13 budget reflects the changes in both revenue and expenditure budgets related to the discontinuance of federal funds and the projected decline in student enrollment, according to Hawkins.

To reduce costs, the district has approved lease-purchase finance certificates to pay for a $922,850 roofing project to replace roofs at three schools.

The certificates have been used to flatten roofing costs for the next five years, according to Hawkins.

The district will also not be replacing staff that leave or will be replacing them by existing staff whenever possible and temporary positions will be discontinued, she said in her budget report.

Another way the district is trying to save money is by implementing a new energy savings program to reduce energy costs, Hawkins said.

New programs

The new budget also includes two new programs – all day, every day kindergarten and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for all fourth-graders.

The district was able to fund the new kindergarten program by using the savings from discontinuing the mid-day kindergarten busing, a cost saving of approximately $101,365, and the extended kindergarten (TWEEN) time, about $99,856, as well as reallocating intervention staffing, Hawkins said in her report.

Parents will not have to pay for the new program.

The district is also using the $254,623 in literacy aid, which was allocated by the Minnesota Legislature last session, for the program, according to Hawkins.

The 2012-2013 budget also covers budgets for the nutrition services, community educations, debt services, district trust funds and project classroom sizes.

To review the budget, visit the St. Francis School District website, http://www.stfrancis.k12.mn.us/.

Tammy Sakry is at tammy.sakry@ecm-inc.com

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