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The Board of Education unanimously approved its final working budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a special-called meeting on Sept. 26.
The budget, at $22.567 million budgeted in overall revenue and $21.095 million in operating expenses, is calculated based on a flat tax rate of $5.52 per $1,000 assessed value.
For the fourth year in a row, the board voted to keep the tax rate flat for 2012-2013. Because of growth in the tax base from Wild Turkey’s expansion, however, tax revenue for the school district will increase by about $129,000 for a total $8.1 million in property tax revenue.
The budget also accounted for a $227,807 increase in salaries and benefits for Anderson County employees, with teachers receiving a salary step increase (based on years teaching and experience), plus a 1 percent raise in July.
Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding — which accounts for 56.62 percent of the district’s overall revenue — decreased by about $587,000 from last year’s budget for SEEK funds at $13.36 million.
During last Wednesday’s special-called meeting, Board chairman Roger McDowell asked if there was a possibility of further reductions of SEEK funding in the coming year.
Superintendent Sheila Mitchell said last year the district did receive a mid-year cut in SEEK funding, and that there is always potential for mid-year cuts.
Other changes in this year’s working budget include:
• Instruction- site-based decision making councils: $25,774 decrease for a total $713,850
• Other Instruction: $6,967 increase for a total $264,019
The increase in other instruction, according to Finance Officer Nick Clark, is to account for carryover for funding the site-based decision making councils, which are the governing bodies for each school in the district.
• Instruction-Related Technology: $78,484 increase for a total $150,950
Clark said the increase in instruction-related technology this year was due in part to a bill for the network upgrade implemented two years ago by the district. Initially meant to be paid in two parts — one half last year and the other half this year — the cost of the network upgrade will be included in its entirety for the upcoming fiscal year.
• Board Activities: $72,515 increase for a total $158,650
Clark said the increase for the Board Activities budget was due to a recoding of the Energy Management fees previously accounted for under the Superintendent’s budget last fiscal year.
• Attendance services: $9,320 increase for a total $13,070
The district purchased a safe school training module that encompasses a variety of training including bullying training, sexual harassment training and blood borne pathogen training and materials for faculty and staff, Clark said.
• Superintendent’s Office: $19,647 increase for a total $384,230
Clark said the re-classification of student accidental insurance and workers’ comp insurance underneath the superintendent’s office budget was the biggest item responsible for the increase.
• Principal’s Office: $2,851 decrease for a total $7,787
• Operation of buildings: $172,820 decrease for a total $1.086 million
The sale of the former Early Childhood Center on Main Street will contribute to an overall decrease in operation expenses and utilities, according to Clark.
• Maintenance Scheduling: $19,202 increase for a total $34,350
New maintenance vehicles and increases in supply accounts contributed to the overall increase of this line item, Clark said.
• Bus driving: $260,771 increase for a total $577,081
Clark said he increased projected fuel costs to $350,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.
The contingency fund, at $1.472 million, encompasses 6.29 percent of the overall operating expenses; the state recommends a minimum of 2 percent contingency and looks for about a 5 percent contingency.
McDowell said he was pleased with the current contingency rate for the district.
“I think that’s a huge sign that we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “I think that shows good fiscal management. I’m pleased with that.”
Final approval of math
The Board of Education unanimously approved to spend $13,733.71 on math textbooks for the pre-calculus class at the Anderson County High School.
Board president Roger McDowell said if the district maintains its contingency fund, then the board should revisit the instructional fee policy.
“That’s one of the things I’d like to see eliminated, if we can afford it,” McDowell said of the instructional fees.
The Board of Education also approved a total $79,391 in indirect cost rates from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013 for food service and federal funds to be transferred to the general fund.
The indirect cost rate for food service, according to Food Service Director Marsha Rogers, is the amount of money based on labor and fringe benefits that district can recoup from food service for indirect costs.
The indirect cost rate for federal funds is based on an effort to recoup costs from electric and water costs as well as building insurance rates, Finance Officer Nick Clark said.
The indirect cost rate for food service, as established by the state, is 10.17 percent or $63,229 for 2012-2013. The indirect cost rate for federal funds is 0.99 percent, or $16,162.
This is the first time the Board voted to transfer funds from food service to the general fund to cover the indirect cost; previously those funds came directly out of the food service budget.
As of Friday afternoon, Rogers said the district has roughly $7,000 in unpaid school meals, the majority of which are those students who are scheduled to pay full-price for school lunch.
Rogers said she is not sure why the amount of unpaid school meals is higher than in previous years.
“Could be the economy, could be that people are unaware that they can qualify for benefits,” Rogers said, referring to the free and reduced lunch program.
Rogers said she is currently working at the reducing the amount of unpaid lunch bills by contacting parents and guardians and instituting a charge limit for meals.
Want to go?
The Board of Education will hold its next monthly meeting on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the district central office.