Dist. 877 to receive $78 per pupil increase in basic funding formula

Board discusses all-day, everyday kindergarten

The Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School Board heard from Supt. Scott Thielman about the legislative update and overview. Thielman highlighted the following points:

• There will be an increase of $78 per pupil on the basic funding formula for the 2013-14 school year and an $80 increase for the 2014-15 school year.

• Voluntary all-day kindergarten will be funded at the same rate as all elementary grades beginning in 2014-15 school year.

• There will be an increase of $10 per pupil for 2013-14 and $40 per pupil for 2014-15 to reduce the special education cross-subsidy from the general fund.

• Levy equalization is increased to provide property tax fairness.

• Adjusts pupil unit weights beginning 2014-15.

• Student assessments will change to better align high school with college and career readiness due to the elimination of the GRAD test.

Thielman also updated the board about All-Day, Every Day Kindergarten (ADEDK).The board wondered about the principal support and space within the schools.

Thielman reported that the principals would be in favor of offering free ADEDK beginning with this school year, if the board decides to go forward. He also noted that they do have the space in their buildings to accommodate the classes. Thielman also reiterated that this is one-time funding and that it will be fully funded by the state in 2014-15. Surrounding districts are also trying to make the decision about whether or not to offer the program free beginning next school year.

Board members are concerned about the price tag (approximately $850,000) to fund ADEDK for one year when they have already made a commitment to reduce class sizes district-wide. The board decided it would be in the best interested of the district to continue with the fee-based ADEDK program for the 2013-14 school year and offer the free program to parents when it is fully funded by the state the following fall.


Budget Adjustments

In other news, the board heard that the general fund revenue adjustments consist of multiple adjustments to property taxes, state aids, and federal programs such as Title I and Special Education.

The amendments also result from revised enrollment estimates, new Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) IDEAS revenue report, and proration on state aids. Originally, the pupil units (Weighted Average Daily Membership) were estimated to be 6,669 for the 2012-13 school year. As the monthly enrollment reports have been coming in, the estimated pupil units have been adjusted down to 6,652. This affected the general education state aid and the operating capital state aid.

One major adjustment was made to property tax revenue for ($2,150,000) but a similar adjustment in the opposite direction was made to state aid to reflect the state’s property tax shift. Overall, the two adjustments were revenue neutral to the budget.

Federal revenue entitlements were updated with prior year carryover entitlements from MDE and updated entitlements for the current year. Other budget adjustments were made to the wRight Choice program, additional interest earnings, and student activities.

The general fund expenditure amendments consist of two salary projection updates: Dec. 17 and April 29. All employee groups are settled. Most of the contingency positions are allocated. Salaries and benefits projections for non-federal programs decreased a cumulative total of $135,679 whereas the salary and benefit projections for federal programs increased $43,308 for a net budget revision decrease of $92,371.

Funds for a roof replacement at the high school and additional technology infrastructure upgrades were added. The amount for the copier lease program was reduced and the cash flow borrowing line item was eliminated. Operations and maintenance budgets were reduced in aggregate although the line item for snow removal was increased. The district also had to add back costs for federal tuition based on a change in how the Minnesota Department of Education is handling tuition billing. Additionally, the costs of property and casualty insurance premiums are up slightly due to a change in market conditions.

In other action, the board:

HEARD that the new Performance Series (PS) assessment system test will be used this coming fall.