At the Board meeting last night the school board received a presentation from the Finance Manager, Mr. Rhoads on the latest school district budget. The school Board approved a preliminary budget in February that included a 1 mill tax increase and about $350,000 in spending cuts. As described in a blog post in March, the Governor’s budget cut about an additional $350,000 from the school district’s funding. When all is said and done, the school district is spending at the same level as the 2005-2006 school year. I am proud to report that while the spending of the school district is going down, our achievement scores are rising. This reflects the commitment of the Board and the teachers to raise the level of effective instruction for the school district’s children. While the budget does not include furloughs of employees or cutting of absolutely essential services for the children, there is one area of concern that the school board must be attentive to.
The district and all community members must realize that the budget takes a significant amount of money from “reserves” (i.e. the savings account) to balance the budget. I believe this is a proper use of the reserve funds, but the projections for the reserve fund show that it will be gone after 4 more years. At that time, there will be very difficult decisions to be made regarding personnel and programming. Of course, being an optimist, I hope that the economy improves enough over that time period that the school district’s revenues will make any further cuts unnecessary.
Please feel free to visit the school district’s web site or stop in the district office to review the budget. The budget reflects a conservative financial approach while maintaining vital educational programs and services.