Summit School District budget includes pay raises, additional employee hours
The Summit School District will likely outspend general fund revenues in 2013-2014. However, the overall pot of money will be larger next year thanks to legislative action by the state.
On Tuesday Mark Rydberg, director of business services for the school district, appeared before the Summit School District Board of Education with a proposed draft budget for the 2013-14 school year, which was unanimously approved.
The district’s operating expenses are projected to exceed revenues by $115,000, which results from the district’s commitment to International Baccalaureate training.
But the district is going to see a 36.2 percent uptick in state funding following the Colorado General Assembly’s passage of Senate Bill 13-260, an overhaul of the Colorado School Finance Act of 1994.
In addition to increasing base, per-pupil funding to $5,954.28 to account for a 1.9 percent inflation rate, SB13-260 adds more than $200 million in program funding to Colorado’s public schools for special education and 3,200 more seats to the Colorado Preschool Program.
Summit will benefit from a $176 per student increase in per-pupil funding, which will raise the number of state-funded students to 2,983 of its projected 2013-14 total enrollment population of 3,181.
The increase in funding means about 33 more students, 25 in K-12 and 7.5 preschoolers, will be covered by state funding next year compared to the previous school year.
Although the state has added more funding for public education, it is estimating a shortfall of more than $1 billion. Summit County’s share of the deficit is $3.8 million.
Despite the state’s financial challenges, school district superintendent Heidi Pace said Tuesday the district is in good financial shape thanks to a series of voter-approved tax increases, also known as mill levy overrides.
Specifically, Rydberg said the $2.1 million mill levy override approved in November 2010 has helped offset the loss of state funds.
“We are one of a very few number of school districts that benefits from mill levy overrides,” Rydberg said. “Our school district would look very different without local voter support.”
Rydberg said most of the school district¹s auxiliary funds look good going into the 2013-14 school year as well. In addition to a 2.9 percent increase to salary and benefits, the district plans to grow by 19 full-time equivalents, which could result in a combination of hiring new positions or adding hours to existing positions next year.
The district also budgeted for a number of overdue capital projects, including the allocation of $203,000 for two new buses. Roofing projects at Upper Blue Elementary, Summit Cove Elementary and Summit Middle School, and interior construction projects at Dillon Valley Elementary and Breckenridge Elementary also are slated to take place next year. The total cost of those capital improvement projects is more than $1.3 million.
“The district is in a healthy spot,” Rydberg said. “We made our cuts in the past, but we’re certainly going to benefit from increased state funding from the state and a modest growth in students.”
More than anything else “past fiscal responsibility allowed us to add expenses, not cut them, for the first time in four to five years,” Rydberg said.
The school board is scheduled to hold a public hearing during its June 11 meeting when the final budget is presented on first reading.
Editor’s note: This story is a corrected version.
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