Friday, June 6, 2014

School board considers $80.6M budget

Public can comment on expenditures at Tuesday budget hearing

Express Staff Writer

    The Blaine County School District board of trustees will consider approval of an $80.6 million budget for fiscal 2015 at its next regular public meeting on June 10.
    The proposed budget, which would go into effect on July 1 for the 2014-2015 school year, is $1.1 million higher than the 2014 budget. The increase can be attributed to increased staff salaries and the increased cost of health insurance premiums.
    The public will be given an opportunity to comment on proposed funding and expenditures at the district’s annual budget hearing scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Following public comment, the proposed budget will be put to the board for a vote. The budget hearing will be followed by the regular June meeting, which is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the district office at 118 W. Bullion St. in Hailey.

As has been the case in past years, the largest funding source for the proposed budget will be local property tax revenues.

    As has been the case in past years, the largest funding source for the proposed budget will be local property tax revenues. According to a budget summary statement, the district anticipates receiving local property tax revenues of more than $38.2 million.
    The property-tax revenues come primarily from a “stabilization” tax expected to bring in $32.2 million for district operations. The stabilization levy was authorized in 2006 by the Legislature for the Blaine County School District and three other districts in resort communities in Idaho when school funding was shifted in the state that year from property tax revenues to sales and income tax revenues.
    The remaining local funding, $5.98 million, comes from a 10-year $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by Blaine County voters in 2009.
    State funding for fiscal 2015 is expected to be $15.4 million. Federal funding is expected at $1.8 million. Other revenue sources include local leases, school and lunch fees and interest on money in savings accounts.
    The $80.6 million is divided into two categories, with $55.6 million to be allocated for general maintenance and operations funds and $25 million to be allocated for what is referred to as “all other funds.”
    The “all other funds” category includes funding for new equipment and construction and state and federal dollars for programs such as reduced or free lunches and special education.
    According to the proposed budget, the district anticipates the largest expenditure to be for salaries, with almost $33 million allocated for that purpose.
    Benefits are listed as the second highest expenditure, anticipated at almost $14 million.
    The budget provides $5.5 million for capital outlay, which is for the purpose on new equipment and construction costs.
    Supplies and materials are budgeted at $2.8 million.
    The proposed budget shows “unappropriated balances” at $16.2 million. Any use of unappropriated balance money needs to be approved by the school board in a separate vote.

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