Board approves preliminary budget

By Per Peterson

The District No. 2904 School Board on Monday approved the preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19. The budget is a best estimation of student population for the upcoming school year. The final budget will be approved in November.
Tracy Area High School Supt. Chad Anderson discussed the preliminary fund balance predictions for Year End 18-19. The estimates for the unrestricted fund balance is $1,638,143 with a total fund balance at $2,197,636 for FY19.

Major budget impact items
State of Minnesota Formula Funding:
The district will be receiving an increase in aid from $6,188 to $6,312, although it is yet to be determined what, if any, additional funds districts will receive in FY 2020. The total increase in revenues over FY 2018 and FY 2019 is 2%.

FY 2018 (2017-18 school year) is the last year of the current referendum. Voters approved an increase in the current referendum of $570.59 to $760 for a net change of $189.41, starting in FY 19. This resulted in an additional $148,120 per year.

Student enrollment:
Enrollment is predicted to stay about the same in 2018-19 and decline for 2019-20. The school district’s weighted student adjusted count (WADM) for 2016-17 was at 803.22. The WADM for the 2017-18 student population dropped 26 students, for a total adjusted WADM count of 777.2 students.

The predicted number of students (WADM) to start the 2018-19 school year will be 775.8, which is 1.4 fewer than 2017-18. WADMs are predicted to decrease in 2019-20 because of class enrollments.

Salaries and benefits:
Employee costs for salaries and benefits in 2017-18 were $6,646,130, which accounts for about 80% of the budget. District costs of salaries and benefits are predicted to be $6,860,344 for an increase in expenditures of $214,214.

Overall expenditure comparisons:
In all, TAPS will show an increase in general fund expenditures and an increase in revenues for FY 2019. This is due, in part, to the number of students remaining the same, a General Fund expenditure increase of $143,618 and a General Fund revenue increase of $89,908 (combination of aid and levy increase). Other contributing factors include a transfer of $35,000 to the technology 1:1 replacement costs in FY 2021 and an unrestricted fund balance decrease from $1,998,637 to $1,638,143 (-$360,494) in FY 2019)

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.