According to Milbank School District Superintendent Tim Graf, this year ended with a windfall. The closing of the Grant-Deuel School District provided a one-time financial benefit to the Milbank School District. Graf says, “The dissolution marks the end of an era. While it is always sad to see schools close, we cannot deny we have seen a financial benefit.”
Graf went on to explain that while the district is in an unusual situation of projecting a surplus for the coming year because of the cash injection from Grant-Deuel, the district is expecting a drop in enrollment and deficit the following year. “However, with the increased valuation and adequate reserves, we are well positioned for the next several years to meet the needs of our students.”
The Milbank District will see an increase of $220 million in valuation by next year and will receive over $600,000 cash as a result of the closure of Grant-Deuel. “According to the agreement and state law, the leftover money is to be distributed according to a percentage of land, which means the Milbank School District will receive 73.18% of the leftover funds. That cash injection will be significantly more than we had anticipated,” Graf says.
The budget for the general fund allotted $6,349,138 for revenue and expenditures and is based on an enrollment of 930 students. The capital outlay fund was set at $1,665,386 in revenue and expenditures. The board is proposing a drop in the mill levy for capital outlay because of the additional valuation of land from the dissolution. The 2017-2018 figures are based on a 1.80 levy. It was 2.45 last year.
The mill levy for the special education fund will increase slightly according to Graf. The levy will be set at 1.461 compared to 1.405 last year. The total budget for the fund is set at $1,615,500.
The remainder of the budget includes $613,000 allocated for the food service fund – identical to last year. Driver’s education and the Out of School Time program (OST) are managed by the Enterprise Fund which shows revenues and expenditures of $108,000. Both programs are self-sustaining and district funds do not support them.
The Milbank School District’s Board of Education reviewed the 2017-2018 budget at a public hearing Monday, July 10. No action on the proposed budget was taken. The board will continue to review it before its approval date.