The Milbank School District’s Board of Education reviewed the 2016-2017 budget at a public hearing before the regular July School Board Meeting.. No action on the proposed budget was taken, but the board will continue to review it and give its approval at a later date.
The new funding formula, which is based on a target statewide average teacher salary of $48,500 and uses a target student-to-teacher ratio, was used to determine the new budget. The new formula implemented a state half-cent sales tax increase which is allocated for increasing teacher salaries. “The formula is to increase teacher pay, but it still a per student formula,” explained Superintendent Tim Graf.
The budget for the general fund is set at $6,113,609 and is based on a projected enrollment of 915 students. The overall amount is an increase from $5,660,383 a year ago. “A majority of that increase amount is a result of increased teacher salaries.”
Reserves of $194,741 will be used to balance the general fund. “If we spend at 98 percent, like this year, we will have a deficit of close to $70,000,” noted Graf.
The capital outlay fund was set at $1,672,019 and will include a mill levy of 2.40, which is a decrease from 2.80 this past year.
The mill levy for the special education fund will also decrease slightly according to Graf. The levy will be set at 1.405 compared to 1.409 last year. The total budget for the fund is set at $1,543,000.
The remainder of the budget includes $613,000 allocated for the food service fund and $106,500 for the enterprise fund, which is used for the Out of School Time program and driver’s education.
Prior to the presentation of the 2016-2017 budget, Graf detailed out a summary of the 2015-2016 budget year. “We spent at 98.01% this year,” stated Graf. “This resulted in a deficit of $39,838 in the general fund which is smaller than projected.” Under the new funding formula, a district’s general fund reserves are capped at 25% of the total budget. The cap is determined by the lowest month during the fiscal year, which was April. “We were at 23% in April, so we are already meeting the cap requirement in the law even though our fund balance is actually at 31% as of year end. We are exactly where we want to be according to the law.”
A surplus of $182,068 was acquired in the capital outlay fund. “This is a result of two big ticket items that had been budgeted but not spent yet.” The district ordered a new vehicle, a Journey, which has not arrived yet so therefore has not been paid for. A new camera system at Koch School was scheduled to be installed, but the vendor has not yet completed the work.
The food service fund ended with a deficit of $17,804 while the special education fund had a small surplus of $626.