District 833 briefs for March 21Partial promise to pay being met by state; Levy money nixed for EMID; Another budget moves toward final approval
Partial promise to pay being met by state
School District 833 will get $5 million more in state funding this year instead of next year.
A state budget shift approved by the Legislature last year caused the district to get 60 percent of its state funding in the 2011-12 fiscal year and 40 percent next year. A recent change in the formula gives the district 64.3 percent this year and 35.7 next year.
Shifts cause the district to lose interest on state funds it has on hand, according to Aaron Bushburger, district finance director.
While other districts have had to use short-term borrowing to pay their bills, District 833 “is fortunate” to have cash on hand, he said.
With a surplus, legislators are now considering sending all or part of the “shift” money back to districts.
Levy money nixed for EMID
Money from local voter-approved operating levies will not be directed to the East Metro Integration District.
At the March 8 District 833 School Board meeting, board member Jim Gelbmann, also a member of the EMID board, said he moved to table a motion that would have resulted in District 833 giving some of its local property tax levy funds to EMID, beyond what the integration district already receives from District 833 and its other member school districts.
The integration district, which operates two schools receives state aid for each of its students.
To increase income, EMID asked for referendum money, about $50 per student.
EMID's attorney ruled that the EMID board would need to amend its agreement to mandate 10 member districts send the extra money, a move all members would have to agree to, making the proposal unlikely to be passed, Gelbmann said.
In addition to rejecting the EMID request for additional revenue, District 833 is cutting its contribution to EMID next year from $1 million to $600,000. It will use the extra $400,000 to expand student programs.
Another budget moves toward final approval
A $7 million operating capital budget including a new concession stand for Woodbury High School, renovated baseball field at Park High School, and purchase of an off-site addition at Liberty Ridge Elementary School will be in the final district budget for next year when the District 833 School Board approves it at the end of May.
The budget, funded with state aid, lease levy and voter-approved money, is for improving and repairing district facilities and cannot be used for salaries or classroom instruction.
To pay for the budgeted expenses, $1 million from the 2006 construction referendum will be used, according to Mike Vogel, assistant to the superintendent for facilities.
The budget also includes $1 million to reflect the ongoing cost of adding new math books and instruction materials for elementary schools and a cut of 25 percent in capital accounts for buildings in order to replace staff computers.
Money is also included for repair and technology upgrades and software licensing.
Board member Marsha Adou asked if $100,000 for the concession stand and $75,000 for the baseball field could be shifted to pay for staff computers but there was no support from board members.
Superintendent Mark Porter said the concession stand was closed by health officials, ending fundraising by various school organizations.