The Summit School District expects to have a balanced budget next year.
The school board unanimously approved the proposed budget at its Tuesday, May 27, meeting. Mark Rydberg, director of finance services, budgeted about $63.3 million for the 2014-15 school year, up $1.7 million from this year’s budget.
“Great generosity and support from our community has kept this district strong financially, without a doubt,” Rydberg said Thursday.
The general fund’s projected expenses will match revenues, he said, so spending won’t impact the $8.3 million fund balance that the district has built up over the years as a reserve.
Overall, Summit County property owners will see a slight decrease in taxes from this year to next.
People who own residential property will pay an estimated $160 per $100,000 worth of value, down about $1.50 from this year. Commercial property owners will pay an estimated $582 per $100,000 worth of value, down $6 from this year.
Property taxes provide about 75 percent of the general fund, while about 20 percent comes from the state.
The district’s general fund revenue should increase by about 7 percent after two bills passed this spring that raised state funding.
The Student Success Act restored $110 million of about $1 billion of education cuts made during the recession. (Summit’s share of those cuts, known as the negative factor, is $3.4 million.) Additionally, the School Finance Act increased base per-pupil state funding to school districts from $6,934 to $7,315 to reflect inflation.
Due mainly to increases in staff members, salaries and benefits costs, the district’s general fund expenses also will be up about 7 percent from this year’s budget. Rydberg projected those expenses will be $30,800,000, of which 66 percent is salary and 17 percent is benefits.
The budget’s big unknowns are staffing uncertainties, which won’t be finalized until August, on the expense side, and the annual student count, which happens in October and determines state funding, on the revenue side.
The number of students should grow by about 50 next year, he said, but “of course that’s a big wildcard.”
He said the district is buying a new bus as part of regular replacements and might add a bus route for middle and high schoolers in Summit Cove.
He also budgeted some construction projects for this summer.
At the high school, the district will try to fix the student-entry sidewalk, between the student parking lot and the gym, a high-traffic spot that floods and freezes causing safety issues.
Board president Margaret Carlson said most of the year it’s difficult to walk there “unless you’ve got your waders on.”
The high school also plans to repair part of its cafeteria roof and replace some parts of the gym and auditorium.
At Breckenridge, Frisco and Dillon Valley elementary schools, some non-hazardous asbestos will be removed and flooring replaced.
Frisco Elementary’s playground should see improvements, and the Upper Blue Elementary bus loop area will be redone to better separate bus and parent traffic.
The issue of teacher supplies came up when board member J Kent McHose said he’s embarrassed when people ask about teachers paying for class supplies out-of-pocket.
Teachers receive set amounts depending on whether they teach elementary, middle or high school students, Rydberg said, and those amounts should be sufficient.
“Teachers are by nature creative,” superintendent Heidi Pace added, and they sometimes want to add fun things to standard instruction, which could increase their supplies costs.
Rydberg will present more details with the final budget at the board’s next meeting, June 10, including budgets for each school and each of the district’s departments.
At that meeting, board members will discuss the budget further and hear from the public. Then the final budget will be up for board approval on June 24.