Schools wax financial

The Minot Public School Board approved on first reading Tuesday an $86.9 million school budget for the 2013-2014 school year, an increase from last year’s budget, which had anticipated revenue of $77.65 million and expenditures of $79.6 million.

According to school business manager Scott Moum, the budget for the upcoming school year will be balanced unlike last year’s budget, which had a projected deficit of $1.95 million. Last year, the school district was still dealing with the effects of the flood the previous year.

Moum said wages and benefits account for approximately 80 percent of the school district’s budget this year.

The board negotiated new contracts with teachers, administrators and classified employees that gave employees about an 8.5 percent increase in wages and benefits.

The district will also be adding 15 additional full time positions this year, which will cost an estimated $1 million for wages and benefits.

The Legislature made some changes during the 2013 session that are intended to give property owners tax relief.

“Taxpayers will definitely see a different tax statement than they have in the past,” said Superintendent Mark Vollmer, who added that property valuations in the area also continue to rise.

Moum estimated the total mill levy for the 2013-2014 will be 82.76 mills, down from 141.02 mills the previous school year.

Moum said the district can expect to receive more funding per pupil from the state because of an increase in the number of students enrolled on average each day, an increase of 335 in average daily membership for 2012-2013 from the previous school year.

However, the district will also see a $2 million drop in tuition received from Minot Air Force Base, which has seen other reductions due to federal sequestration. The district will also see a drop in tuition charges for students from outside th edistrict because tuition charges are based on education costs, less the state aid. Therefore, with per-pupil state aid payments increasing from $3,980 to $8,810, tuition charges will be reduced by the additional $4,830 per pupil, according to Moum.

The board is also likely to ask voters to approve a mill levy later this year that would help fund new school construction to address the continued growth in the district.

The board will review the proposed budget at future meetings and will give it final approval in September.