St. Francis School Board approves budget

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The St. Francis School Board unanimously approved the 2017-2018 budget June 26.

Bernice Humnick, the district’s new business director, had one month to prepare the budget upon starting in her new role.

Humnick replaced Scott Nelson, who left the district this spring.

Numbers appear to show a $9.9 million deficit with $62.5 million in revenue and $72.4 million in expenditures, but revenue to cover most of the difference was accounted for in fiscal year 2017 with a bond sale for various long-term facilities maintenance projects. The construction fund shows $8.8 million in expenditures in fiscal year 2018; revenue to finance the projects was already recorded.

The disparity in the general fund is less extreme, and other funds are relatively balanced, with the exception of the trust fund, which shows a deficit of $531,128.

Anticipated general fund revenue is $50.7 million, a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2016-2017. Expenditures are estimated at $51.2 million, down 1.1 percent from last school year.

A portion of the decrease is attributable to declining enrollment, though the dip is less dramatic than it was in 2016-2017. A loss of 41 students is anticipated.

With principal and interest payments on a bus lease not accounted for in the last couple of years, the district pushed back curriculum purchases slated for 2017.

“It was reconsidered in light of the news about the bus lease,” Humnick said.

Principal and interest payments totaled $646,625 in fiscal year 2017, according to Humnick.

Unless the outlook changes, which it could in the midst of an audit with many unknowns remaining in the budgeting cycle, the district will have to dip into its fund balance, pushing it below 5 percent of expenditures.

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