Friday, May 31, 2013

School District proposes $79.5 million budget

Salaries and benefits account for largest expenditures

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District, which includes Wood River High School, has proposed a $79.5 million budget for the 2013-2014 school year. Express file photo

     The Blaine County School District is proposing a $79.5 million budget for the 2013-2014 school year, which starts on July 1.

     The budget is nearly $5 million higher than this year’s budget of $74.7 million. According to a district budget “summary statement,” the biggest difference is that the district is showing a beginning balance for next year of $11.3 million compared to a beginning balance for this year of $7.4 million.

     District Business Manager Mike Chatterton discussed the proposed budget in detail with the school board and a few members of the public who attended a special board meeting on May 23.

     The school board will hold its annual budget hearing and listen to public comment at its next regular board meeting on Tuesday, June 11. Following the hearing, the board will consider approval of the budget.

     As has been the case in the past, the largest funding stream for next year’s budget is local property tax revenues. According to the budget summary statement, the district anticipates receiving local property tax revenues of $38.1 million.

     State funding for next year is anticipated at $14.7 million and federal funding at $1.7 million.

     Other revenue sources include income from local leases, school and lunch fees and interest on money in savings accounts.

     The $79.5 million proposed budget is divided into two categories, with $55.6 million allocated to a “General M&O Fund” and $23.9 million in a category called “All Other Funds.”

     The General M&O Fund is for operating expenses while the All Other Funds category includes funding for construction, and state and federal dollars for special programs such as reduced or free lunches and funding for some special education programs.

Planned expenditures

     According to the proposed budget, the district anticipates the largest expenditure to be for salaries, with $33 million allocated for that purpose.

     Benefits are listed as the second highest expenditure, anticipated at $13.7 million.

     The district plans spending $7.7 million on “capital outlay,” which is for purchase of new equipment and construction costs.

     Expenditures on supplies and materials are anticipated at $2.2 million.

     The proposed budget allocates $5.9 million for “debt retirement.”

     Allocated for a “contingency reserve” is $2.6 million, while the proposed budget shows “unappropriated balances” of $13.1 million.

Budget review

The proposed Blaine County School District budget for the 2013-2014 school year is available for public review at the district website at Click on the finances tab and then on the budgets tab. A copy is also available for review at the district office at 118 West Bullion St. in Hailey.

Terry Smith:

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