Archive for Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Board trims $75,000 before approving 2013-2014 budget

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

August 21, 2013

The Baldwin school board Monday trimmed about $75,000 in spending before approving a 2013-2014 budget.

The board’s budget knife was applied to the district’s capital outlay fund, reducing it to $527,000 for the coming year.

The action established the district’s 2013-2014 budget at $19.4 million and property tax levy at 68.938 mills. At that level, the district’s share on taxes on a $150,000 single-family home would be $1,143, or $8 less than last year.

The reduction will not affect capital outlay projects or equipment purchases for the coming year because the board directed the lost revenue be shaved from a built-in year-end carry over. District financial director Cynde Frick and Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the board would be asked in the next two months to firm up what projects and equipment would be completed or purchased.

One big-ticket capital project planned for the coming year is the $144,000 partial replacement of the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center roof. Furthermore, a five-year project list Frick shared with the board indicated the district would spend from $85,000 to $148,000 on roof replacements over the three following years before taking on an estimated $384,000 high school roof replacement in 2017-2018.

The cost of the high school roof replacement was the reason she proposed building the fund, Frick said.

Board member Sandy Chapman noted Frick’s five-year capital spending and revenue projections didn’t take into account increases in the district’s valuation or the possibility the fund would benefit from the sale of excess district properties. The message she heard during enrollment was that residents wanted the board to hold the line on taxes, Chapman said.

The rest of the board agreed, with board member Nicole Tiller adding residents might question a large carry over.

With the Kansas Legislature holding 2013-2014 state per-pupil aid at the same level as last school year, the approved budget provides $11.26 million for classroom uses. Frick and Dorathy said there was a slight increase from enrollment growth.

The board used the money to help pay the salary of an additional fourth-grade teacher for the Intermediate Center. Principal Dan Wallsmith said the additional teacher would allow for five fourth-grade sections of 19 to 20 students.

The board also added another kindergarten teacher, with funding for that position coming from a contingency Frick built into the budget. The district is expecting its first-ever 100-plus-student kindergarten class this year.

Dorathy said those interviewing for the positions were told they would be offered one-year contracts with no guarantees of renewal.

In other business, the board:

• Agreed its next meeting would be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the newly remodeled Baldwin Junior High multi-use room.

• Approved a three-year agreement with the city establishing the district’s cost for the school resource officer position. The agreement sets the district’s cost for 2013-14 at $15,045 or 25 percent of the position’s salary. The district’s share would increase to 30 percent in the second and third years of the contract.

• Approved use of a supplemental music elementary education program Baldwin City residents Merrie Skaggs and Nan Funkhouser developed with the stipulation that no district funds would be spent on the program. Skaggs told the board she and her sister were applying for a Kauffman Foundation grant, which would allow them to make the program available to the district at no cost.

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