STMA sets preliminary budget; district in ‘sound’ condition

The St. Michael-Albertville School Board approved the 2012-13 preliminary budget.

The board also heard a positive report about community education participation, and gave Supt. Jim Behle a good evaluation.


Supt. Behle reported that the school district was about $500,000 in the positive for the general fund budget.

Behle said the positive balance was mainly due to lower expenses from a mild winter. These include for snow removal and lower energy bills.

He said the district built in flexibility to the budget for expenses like additional teachers. He said operating referendum dollars approved by district voters wouldn’t be spent all at once.

"We’re purposely not planning to spend that money in one year," he later said. "We don’t anticipate more state funds during the next three to four years."

The board also has a fund reserve policy not to go below 1.5 months of expenditures.

"The overall picture is we continue to be in sound fiscal condition," Behle said. "We met or exceeded the board goals on balances."

He added that STMA also does not have to borrow to cash flow the district, and would plan for additional use of the referendum dollars.

"Overall we’re doing fine, we’re where we should be and the board is pleased with the financial condition," Behle said.

General fund expenses are budgeted at $42.75 million, with the grand total expenditures at $63.5 million.

The board approved the preliminary budget overview.


In other news, community education director Maryellen Barthel was present with a review of activities within her department.

Barthel reported that the STMA Activity Center at the high school increased memberships by more than 200 persons in just six months this year. Total memberships are now at almost 1,000 persons.

She said the activity center remains busy with personal training, summer t-ball, hosting the Minnesota State High School Volleyball Coaches Clinic in July, birthday parties, and sporting tournaments.

She also pointed out numerous rentals of the Performing Arts Center at the high school and Middle School West auditorium, such as for concerts, church programs and theater.

Barthel said community education completed its 24th year with programs like health classes, adult classes, trips, youth classes and English as Second Language classes.

Lastly, Barthel reported positive attendance in the STMA Early Childhood Family Education, STMA Bright Beginnings Preschool and Kids Play & Just 4 Kids.


In further matters, the board adopted Supt. Behle’s evaluation and statement.

The board had a closed meeting earlier this month to finalize Behle’s review. Each board member completed his or her own review, and Behle completed his own self-assessment.

The results of the review are as follows: