Positive outlook for schools budget

/ 24 May 2012 / jennifer

Kelly Johnson, ABC Newspapers, May 24, 2012 –

After years of doing more with less, Anoka-Hennepin School District 11’s outlook for fiscal year 2013 is looking bright.

Overall, the district’s proposed revenues for fiscal year 2013, which runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, are expected to total $471,600,410. Total expenditures are proposed at $481,773,045.

These expenditures include $4.4 million in strategic investments designed to improve student learning and achievement.

The district is expected to carry over a fund balance of $141,537,290 from fiscal year 2012.

At the end of fiscal year 2013, the district’s fund balance is expected to total $131,364,656.

General fund

In the general fund, there is a projected fund balance of $95,726,692 on June 30. In fiscal year 2013, there is $407,791,185 in proposed revenues, $415,485,469 in proposed expenditures and an anticipated fund balance of $88,032,409 on June 30, 2013.

Revenue in the general fund includes a $50 per pupil unit increase approved by the Legislature, bringing the per pupil unit to $5,224.

According to Michelle Vargas, the district’s chief financial officer, there is a declining enrollment of 420 students, or 490 pupil units.

“We’re graduating more seniors than we’re bringing in kindergartners,” Vargas said.

Seniors are weighted higher in the pupil unit than younger students, she said.

Despite the declining enrollment, Vargas said there were 100 more students at the elementary school level this year compared with the previous year.

“We’re seeing people coming back,” Vargas said, adding that she anticipates the district’s enrollment numbers to level off in the coming years.

Other revenue assumptions in the fiscal year 2013 budget include literacy aid of $2 million, a basic skills revenue increase of $690,000 and a property tax revenue net decrease of $3 million. This net property tax decrease includes the loss of $6 million in revenue anticipated for the Q Comp program, which was rejected by teachers, and a $3 million increase in revenue due to the technology levy approved by voters in November 2011.

General fund expenditures include staff salaries which are expected to increase based on previously negotiated contracts ranging from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

Health, dental, group life and disability insurance premiums will remain at fiscal year 2010 contribution levels, something that Vargas attributes to staff’s prudent use of these benefits.

There is also $2 million set aside for additional teaching staff for the expanded all day, every day kindergarten program and the four-year-old program funded with literacy aid.

According to Vargas, the bulk of the district’s general fund, some 80 percent, goes to salaries and benefits.

“It’s putting people in front of kids so they can learn,” she said.

Food service fund

The food service fund is projected to have $6,517,456 fund balance on June 30. Proposed fiscal year 2013 revenues are $17,952,242 and proposed expenditures are $19,456,788. That leaves a projected fund balance of $5,012,910 on June 30, 2013.

There are no fee increases planned for the 2012-2013 school year for the food service budget.

Vargas said the fee increase during last year was due to a change in federal calculations.

District 11’s federal revenue for the food service fund is anticipated to increase $740,000 due to increased free and reduced lunch program enrollment. Revenue from local sales are anticipated to decrease by $570,000 due to the economy and declining enrollment impacting participated in the school lunch program.

According to Vargas, there are 4.4 million lunches served throughout the district.

Community service fund

The community service fund is projected to have a $3,815,385 fund balance on June 30. Proposed fiscal year 2013 revenues are $18,454,833. Proposed expenditures are $18,285,551. The projected fund balance on June 30, 2013 is $3,984,667.

Local revenue in this fund is anticipated to increase by $93,000 primarily due to increased enrollment in Adventures Plus and Community School participation.

There will be a purchased services decrease primarily due to reduction in costs associated with lease space vacated at the end of fiscal year 2012. There is also a minor reduction in salaries and benefits due to the elimination of K Extra programs at sites that no longer offer fee based all day, every day kindergarten.

Capital projects fund

The capital projects fund will remain unchanged from fiscal year 2012. There is a projected fund balance of $721,792 on June 30. Proposed fiscal year 2013 revenues and expenditures are both set at $3.699.313. There is a projected fund balance of $721,792 at the conclusion of the 2013 fiscal year.

According to Vargas, the largest project included in the capital projects fund is Phase II of the Sandburg project.

Debt service fund

The district’s debt service fund is projected to have a $4,948,492 fund balance on June 30. Projected fiscal year 2013 revenues are $22,497,837. Projected expenditures are $22,660,923. There is a projected fund balance of $4,785,406 on June 30, 2013.

Vargas said the fund’s revenue is decreasing by $462,000 because of the retirement of debt. Expenditures are also decreasing by $313,000 due decreased interest and principal payments on declining overall long-term debt.

Trust fund

The trust fund will have a projected fund balance of $29,807,472 on June 30. There are $1,205,000 in proposed revenues in fiscal year 2013 and $2,185,000 in proposed expenses, leaving a projected fund balance of $28,827,472 on June 30, 2013.

Approval of the final fiscal year 2013 budget is expected at the school board’s June 25 meeting.

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com