Summit School District expects increased expenses, revenues for 2015-16
IF YOU GO
What: Public hearing on the Summit School District 2015-16 budget
When: June 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Central Administration Office, next to Summit Middle School at 150 School Road, Frisco, CO 80443
The Summit School District expects to have a balanced budget next year.
The school board approved the proposed budget at its Tuesday, May 26, meeting. Mark Rydberg, director of finance services, budgeted about $63.8 million for the 2015-16 school year, down about 2 percent from this year’s budget.
When divided by each of the district’s students, Rydberg said about $7,500 in funding will come from the state, while local taxes will pay for roughly $2,000 next year.
That local financial support is a huge benefit for Summit that other districts don’t necessarily have, he said.
The general fund’s projected expenses will match revenues, he said, so spending won’t impact the $8.7 million fund balance that the district has built up over the years as a reserve.
Summit County property owners will again see a decrease in taxes from this year to next.
People who own residential property will pay an estimated $139 per $100,000 worth of value, down $21 from this year.
Property taxes provide about 75 percent of the general-fund revenue, while about 20 percent will come from the state and 5 percent will come from taxes on local car sales and registrations, which are finally increasing to pre-Recession levels, Rydberg said.
The district’s general-fund revenue should increase by roughly $650,000 as property values are projected to rise.
Summit’s share of the state cuts to education made during the Recession, known as the negative factor, is roughly the same as last year at $3.3 million.
Due mainly to employee pay raises and increased benefit costs, the district’s general fund expenses also will be up from this year’s budget. Rydberg projected those expenses will be $32 million, of which 66 percent is salary, and 19 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 17 next year to 3,362 total, Rydberg projected, a much smaller increase than in the last two years.
He said the district is buying a new bus and a $250,000 snow loader, and Rydberg also budgeted another $950,000 in capital projects, including a $50,000 preschool playground at Frisco Elementary.
School board president Margaret Carlson asked which new initiatives would be funded next year, and Rydberg said only a blended-learning remodel and mental-health support for Snowy Peaks High School as well as an expanded reading-recovery program.
“It’ll be hard for us to do new things without redesigning what we’re already doing,” Rydberg said.
School board member Marilyn Taylor asked about funding of the district’s goal of providing a computer, tablet or other device for every student. Superintendent Heidi Pace said because the devices are so expensive to purchase, the district would need to look at other funding options, including grants, community fundraising and going to voters for more local tax dollars.
School board members Alison Casias and Erin Young complimented Rydberg on his work ensuring the district’s financial sustainability and creating a user-friendly budget summary.
Rydberg will present more budget details prepared in book form at the board’s next meeting, June 9, including budgets for each school and each district department.
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 at the June 23 meeting.
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