District 15 sets parameters for the 2012-2013 budget

/ 25 April 2012 / jennifer

Tammy Sakry, ABC Newspapers, April 25, 2012 –

With 2012-2013 school budget planning already under way, the St. Francis District 15 School Board has set the budget parameters.

At its April 23 meeting, the board unanimously approved the budget parameters recommended by its Financial Planning Action Committee.

According to the parameters, each of the schools will have its budget amount determined by its enrollment.

If there is a decrease in enrollment and budget, the schools have been directed to make reductions in areas that minimize any impact to instruction.

According to Business Services Director Mae Hawkins, most of the schools are projected to have a decrease in enrollment for 2012-2013.

Currently, St. Francis High School has an enrollment of 1,575 students. Projected enrollment for next year is 1,565 students.

St. Francis Middle School has 1,165 students this year, but enrollment is expected to drop by 18 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

On the other side of the district, Cedar Creek Community school is expected to see its enrollment of 800 drop to 757 students and East Bethel Community School is expected see its enrollment drop by 43 students to 588 students next year.

St. Francis Elementary School is the only school in the district projected to see a rise in enrollment with its current enrollment increasing by 16 to approximately 712 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

With the switch to a free all day, every day kindergarten program and the addition of a fourth-grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program starting next year, all of the elementary schools will need to adjust their budgets to accommodate the new programs.

All of the district’s three elementary schools will have one STEM class, according to the parameters.

The new kindergarten program will be funded with savings the district will realize by discontinuing kindergarten only busing, discontinuing extended kindergarten time and by reallocating intervention staffing, according to Hawkins.

The district is anticipating to receive a $254,623 increase in literacy aid revenues in 2012-2013, which will be used for elementary programming.

As the district and schools prepare the 2012-2013 school year budget, the administrators will have to keep in mind non-federal revenues are expected to decrease by $672,200.

The district will see its $146,000 in federal jobs funds eliminated and a $150,000 decrease in federal Title programs.

According to the parameters, the district will be phasing out the four positions that are paid for using the federal jobs funds.

“They were all temporary positions that will be discontinued at the end of this school year,” Hawkins said.

“The jobs funds were temporary federal funding and it sunsets at the end of this school year.”

“The Title funding is estimated at 80 percent of the last three year’s average (which was an amount recommended by the Minnesota Department of Education),” Hawkins said.

Although the district has set the non-employee expenses at a zero percent increase, with the exception of fuel, and it will receive $50 more per students in general education revenue, there will be a decline in revenues and expenditures are expected to increase.

According to the parameters, the schools will have to reduce their budgets to address the difference.

Among the changes being made to the district budget is selling lease-purchase finance certificates $922,850 to finish replacing four school roofs.

According to Hawkins, borrowing the money will help flatten out roofing costs for the district over the next five years.

The money, which is being borrowed at an interest under 3 percent, will be paid back using the operating capital funds the district receives each year from the state, said Hawkins at the March 26 board meeting when the issue was discussed.

If staff reductions are needed, positions will remain unfilled when staff leave or it will be filled with existing staff, according to the parameters, and temporary positions will be discontinued.

The district also plans to implement new energy savings programs to reduce energy costs.