For the week of June 17 thru June 23, 1998  


School Board approves $22 million budget

Express Staff Writer

The Board of Trustees approved a $22 million Blaine County School District Budget for the 1998 school year at its annual budget hearing Tuesday night. The money makes up a general fund, which is 80 percent of the district’s financing.

"The budget will increase by 6.5 percent over last year’s budget," said superintendent of schools Phil Homer. "This is the smallest increase for the district in quite some time," he said. The average budget increase is 8.5 to 9.5 percent each year.

School district treasurer Mike Chatterton said the small funding increase wasn’t a challenge when he authored the budget.

"The board wanted to hold the budget down," he said.

Chatterton said the budget is similar to the 1997 budget, and the 6.5 percent increase was used for teacher’s salaries and benefit increases, and new staff positions.

The board filled 23 certified positions this year, including five new positions: one part-time choir teacher, one part-time speech pathology teacher, one language arts teacher, and two special education teachers.

Almost $11 million is designated for teacher’s salaries, including coaches, teacher’s aides, counselors, teachers of the gifted and talented program, and teachers for physically, mentally, socially or learning disabled students, and librarians.

District and school administrative expenses, including principal, vice principal, and district staff salaries, and Board of Trustees expenses total $1.5 million.

Among its expenses, the district will spend $100,000 on repairs and maintenance of school buses, $60,000 in school cleaning supplies, $51,000 in library materials, and $500,000 in teaching materials and text books.

One of the primary differences between the 1997 and 1998 budgets is a $125,000 decrease in allocated funds for buying building sites and building maintenance.

Local property taxes generate 50 percent of revenue for the Blaine County Schools General Fund, with local revenue totaling $13 million this year, and state sources generating $6.5 million.

The remaining 20 percent of funding, $4.5 million, comes from federal, state and local sources, students, taxes, and interest. The funds are spent on programs including the School Lunch Program, Chapter I, which provides academic help to children who score lower than the 40th percentile on achievement tests; and the Drug Free Schools program.


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