School anticipates running mill levy in May

By Terry Schools Supt. Charles Deisher
This May during the ‘regular’ school election time, the District will run a levy for the general budget.  The levy will be for about $20,751.13 or 6.08 mills.  The exact amount will not be known until the legislature finishes up its business this year.  This may suggest some questions.
Why two levies?  The levy that was passed in February is temporary and will expire after four years. The monies from that levy will be used for building maintenance, mainly for the replacement of the boiler in Bolin this summer.  We could have run both levies during the May election, but we wanted to get started on the boiler replacement this summer.  A May election would have not allowed us to start work until next summer. 
What is this levy for?  The levy supports the District’s General Fund.  The general fund is where the salaries, utilities, and general day to day operating expenses are funded.  The general fund levy is permanent, unlike the building maintenance levy.  The budget for this year was $1,299,546.79; the maximum budget for next year with a levy is $1,301,187.16.  This is $1,640.37 or less than a 1 percent increase from last year.  Without a levy our maximum general fund budget would be $1,280,436.03.  This is a difference of $19,110.76 or a 1.5 percent decrease from this year.
With a declining enrollment shouldn’t the budget decline also?  This is a key question.  One way of looking at it from past experience, is that it takes as much time to prepare and teach an eight person calculus class as a one person calculus class.  In other words, unless services (or facilities) are cut back, the fixed costs are unchanged.  An argument could also be made that if a budget stays essentially the same from year to year, it is actually declining at the rate of inflation.  Finally, the General budget is a number that gives the district spending authority, historically the district has not spent 100 percent of its budget.
In order to keep this note short, I will write another column addressing questions or concerns as they come up. 

The Board of Trustees and I welcome your input and/or questions.  I can be reached at the school, 635- 5533, or at home, 635-2158.  Thank you for your concern and support. 

Published 4/1/09

Article Type: 
School Issues


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