Friday, June 3, 2011

School District plans $76.2M budget

Construction projects to continue at proposed $17 million


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Work continues on a $1.37 million multipurpose room addition at Bellevue Elementary School. The Blaine County School District is proposing about $17 million in capital outlay for facilities during fiscal 2012. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Blaine County School District is proposing a budget of $76.2 million for the coming school year.

Still subject to school board approval, the budget would allocate nearly $32 million to salaries, about $12.5 million to employee benefits and almost $17 million to new construction and facility improvements.

The proposed budget is $16.6 million lower than this year's record budget of $92.8 million, which jumped $18.6 million from the fiscal 2010 budget of $74.2 million. The main reason for the large increase was an aggressive new construction and facility-improvement program made possible by advanced spending on a 10-year, $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by Blaine County voters in 2009.

The district allocated $26 million for construction and facility improvements this year, but Business Manager Mike Chatterton said Wednesday that it thus far has spent only about half that amount. The balance, he said, is intended to be carried into the fiscal 2012 budget to continue the district's building program.

The school board will be asked to approve the budget at its regular monthly meeting on June 14. If approved, the budget would go into effect at the start of fiscal 2012 on July 1.

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According to the proposed budget, the district will start the year with a beginning balance of about $13.3 million. It anticipates receiving in the coming year about $38 million in local property tax revenues, $1.4 million in miscellaneous other local revenues, $15.1 million in state funds and about $1.8 million in federal funds.

The proposed budget shows that the district expects to receive about $6.45 million from "other sources," which Chatterton described as various federal, state and private grants.

The proposed budget is divided into two general categories, with $55.65 million allocated to the general fund for maintenance and operations and $20.56 million allocated to a category described as "all other funds."

The "all other funds" includes revenues and expenditures for new construction and facility improvements and funding for miscellaneous federally required programs.

Chatterton said the proposed budget would continue funding for building projects made possible by the 2009 plant facilities levy.

Projects started in fiscal 2011, and expected to carry into the new fiscal year, include geothermal resource development and facility retrofits at Bellevue Elementary School and Carey School, a new multipurpose room addition at Bellevue Elementary and a new food storage and maintenance facility on Aviation Drive in south Hailey.

New capital expenditures planned for fiscal 2012 include remodeling of the auditorium at the Community Campus, various security and safety upgrades and geothermal resource development and building retrofits at Hailey Elementary School and at the Fox Acres Campus, which includes Wood River High School and the Community Campus.

Chatterton said the district remains financially healthy.

"Overall, I'm feeling really good about where we're at," he said.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com

Budget Workshop

The public is invited to a special school board meeting on Wednesday, June 8, to hear about the Blaine County School District's proposed $76.2 million budget for fiscal 2012. The "budget workshop" starts at 5:30 p.m. at the district office at 118 W. Bullion St. in Hailey. According to the meeting notice, district Business Manager Mike Chatterton will explain the budget and answer questions from the board and the public.




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