POSEN - The Posen Consolidated School Board of Education passed a budget for the 2012-13 school year at its meeting Monday, one that projects expenses to outstrip revenues as the district deals with disappearing state and federal funds.
However, the district's financial situation may be better than currently anticipated, Superintendent Dru Milliron said. The state legislature is still considering how - or if - to restore certain funding sources. At this point, the district has to assume the worst about these sources, as well as a possible increase in teacher retirement rates.
Milliron said the district will use money left over from the just-completed 2011-12 school year to make up for having more expenses than income next school year, he said. This will allow the district to end the upcoming school year in the black for the second year in a row. Now, the district is waiting to see what the legislature decides, while figuring out its current financial state.
Expenses for the upcoming school year are projected at $2,125,563 as stated in the budget adopted by the board. This is $50,864 less than the previous school year. The district was able to keep costs down by negotiating a pay freeze with staff, as well as requiring them to pay a higher percentage of health care costs, Milliron said. Early education costs increased by about $40,000, as the district must now pay wages for some positions out of its general fund, which had previously been covered by federal money.
Revenue is projected at $2,111,933, over $93,000 less than the previous school year, according to the budget. Two of the biggest changes are eliminations of $51,735 in federal money used to recruit and retain high-quality and highly qualified teachers, and $22,601 in state money to offset retirement cost increases.
Funding from the state for following "best practices" also is projected to be slightly less than half of last year's, at $13,050 for the 2012-13 school year. However, Milliron said the state could develop new money-saving requirements for districts to follow to receive additional funding.
"There are a few things we're not sure of yet, so we're not going to put them in the budget until we know," he said. "I'd hate to assume we're going to get them, and then not get them."
An increase in school aid recently approved by the state legislature would give a boost to Posen's budget. At $120 per pupil, it amounts to $31,320 for Posen's projected 261 pupils for the upcoming school year. When the deal was announced earlier in June, Milliron said the money shouldn't be considered an increase, as the legislature had cut funding significantly a year earlier.
"I believe the government is going to make it sound like an increase because they have to appease the public, but if you look at it, they've taken $470 away, and this is just beginning to replace that," he said. "So it's not an increase if you look at it."
Using leftover money from the 2011-12 school year means the district will have a fund balance of $1,645 by June 30, 2013.
"We're always concerned, but we're hoping to get new revenue coming in," Milliron said.
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Jordan Travis can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.