Fiscal plan paints picture of Richfield School District

/ 29 March 2012 / jennifer

Andrew Wig, MN Sun Newspapers, March 29, 2012 –

A presentation of Richfield Schools’ 2012-2013 fiscal plan last week provided a glimpse into the district’s annual budgeting process, and a look at the district’s monetary and demographic status.

Business manager Michael Schwartz told the Richfield School Board he is expecting the district to spend nearly $46 million during the 2012-2013 school year, an increase of about $300,000 from the current year’s budget.

In addition to the $875,500 budget cut the board approved in February, the projected expenditures account for a variety of cost increases – a 10 percent jump in property and liability insurance, a 6.5 percent increase in medical insurance and a 15 percent hike in worker’s compensation insurance.

Natural gas and electric bills are expected to rise by 12 percent; gasoline for buses, 10 percent. The only projected expenditure decrease comes in the instructional supply fund, which should drop by 2 percent, due to the budget cuts.

Meanwhile, Schwartz expects the district to collect about $45.5 million, an increase of about $500,000 from the current year. Contributing to that number is a projected kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment of 31 students. The district can also count on a $50 increase in the amount of per-student funding it gets from the state, providing $5,224 per student.

The district also looks at recent student demographic and enrollment trends in setting its budget. Outlined in the new fiscal plan, enrollment in Richfield Schools has increased dramatically the last three years, from 3,980 students in 2009, to 4,282 this school year.

The district has closed the gap between the number of district residents who choose to enroll elsewhere, and those from outside the district opting to attend Richfield Schools. Currently Richfield sees an open-enrollment deficit of about 30 students, down from about 100 two years ago.

The proportion of non-white students in Richfield has steadily increased, the fiscal plan notes. Non-white students comprise about 68 percent of the district this year, up from 61.7 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, the number of students receiving free-and-reduced priced lunches has increased by about 10 percent since 2007, now at about 65 percent. That number is used as an indicator of the economic health of district residents, and helps determine state aid levels.

Information in the fiscal plan will be used to set next year’s budget, to be approved by June 1.