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Moving capital

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The Bolivar R-1 School District will budget to spend about $848,297 from its capital reserves, bound for a series of needs, including the district’s bond-funded work, following board approval of its 2019-20 budget Tuesday, June 18. 

With all members present, the board voted unanimously for a budget that predicts $33,861,000 in revenue and $34,724,000 in expenditures, leaving an $863,000 difference. 

Last year’s revenue and expenditures were significantly lower, with the district recording $27,377,026 in revenue and $27,283,276 in expenditures, per the district’s budget booklet. 

Those additional revenue and expenditure sums this year are part of the district’s no-tax-rate-increase bond package, which passed in April and infused $6 million for a series of projects.  

 2019-20 budget 2018-19 forecast 2018-19 budget 
Revenue $33,861,910 $27,583,815 $27,377,026
Expenditures  $34,724,526 $27,488,590 $27,283,276

 

R-1 CFO Kelly Holt told the BH-FP Monday the district’s capital contributions to the project resulted in overall expenditures exceeding revenue. 

“That’s our contributed capital for those projects,” he said. “The taxpayers have agreed to put $6 million for the projects, and we’re paying the other part.

“Our operating budget is actually almost flat or even,” Holt added. 

The booklet backs up the assessment. 

“Capital fund balances are anticipated to decrease $848,297 for bond construction projects and other capital needs districtwide,” the booklet states. “The operating and debt service funds are budgeted at a deficit of $54,699 and a surplus of $43,350, respectively.”

The district’s bond funds prioritize an early childhood learning center and propose an expansion at the middle school and a high school practice track, with an estimated total project price of $7,437,830.

Holt said the district will reap additional revenue from the bond’s $600,000 premium, the amount an investor is willing to pay to make the bond more attractive if it is traded later on. A $90,000 bond issuance cost puts the net gain at $510,000. 

The district had budgeted to spend $624,105 out of its capital fund in 2018-19 and $6,809,864 in 2017-18.

The last time the district’s overall budget showed a deficit was in its 2016-17 fiscal year, when it spent bond funds that had been received in prior years. The district’s actual budget wasn’t in deficit that year, Holt said. 

Spendable balance 
  Total Balance
 2019-20* $8,463,753 21.68%
 2018-19*

$9,326,369

22.14%
 2014-15 $7,813,146 22.11%

* projected

** forecast as of June 18, 2019

Before the vote, Holt read the board highlights from the booklet. The proposal supports the district’s pillars, he said, including its objective to prepare lifelong learners.

“That’s the core of what we do,” he told the board. “That’s instructional expenditures, direct instruction, instructional support, adoptions for curriculum and instructional coaches.”

The district has $14,991,000 budgeted for direct instruction, he said. It put $15,203,990 toward the expense last year, per the 2018-19 budget booklet. 

However, the budget makes no reductions in its spending on curriculum, Holt told the board. 

Other pillars, including the district’s goal of “future-ready” leaders, strong family and community partnerships and creating a safe learning environment are also funded, according to the booklet. 

The budget puts $1,159,561 toward life skills, leadership, and extra and co-curricular activities. Another $664,988 is slated for programs, including parents as teachers, early childhood instruction, childcare services, summer school food service and parent involvement. Guidance and counseling is funded at $622,678. Health, wellness and nutrition receive $1,603,076 and safety, security, and facilities planning receive $7,333,996.

Per the booklet, the two most significant impacts on expenditures in the upcoming year are increases to the base salary schedule for teachers and the capital expenditures for bond projects.

Those base salary changes constitute increasing the base by $400 to $35,400 and granting steps for experience. In addition, the district made the decision to allow an additional step for experience for new and current employees. The defined contribution was increased to $425 per month from $400, per the booklet. 

The district’s general fund is forecasted at $5,669,450. Last year’s is projected to close at $5,727,119. 

The district will maintain its debt service fund in surplus to meet its 2020-21 obligations, Holt told the board. 

Board member Jera Shive had attended a budget meeting, board president Paula Hubbert said, before the vote. 

“Jera, since you went to the meeting, I would accept a motion that we would approve this budget,” Hubbert said. 

Shive made the motion. The budget passed. There were no questions. Hubbert and superintendent Tony Berry thanked Holt and the budget committee. 

2018-19 budget amended

Before discussions on the district’s upcoming budget, Holt brought the district back a year to its 2018-19 fiscal year, where the district is expecting to come in ahead of revenue expectations. 

“We budgeted $27,377,000 on expenditures and $27,283,000 in expenditures,” he said. “We’re expecting to exceed expectations on revenues by about $205,000.”

With its surplus, Holt said the district can look ahead to take care of upcoming expenses, including carpeting at the high school and some library expenditures.

“So what we did is took some of our excess surplus and purchased some of our 19-20 expenditures,” he said. 

The board unanimously approved an amendment to the the 2018-19 budget to reflect the changes, pending final expenditure numbers June 30. 

Closed session

According to draft board minutes, the full board met in closed session before the meeting to discuss legal actions; leasing, purchasing and sale of real estate, hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting employees; individually identifiable personnel records, performance rating or records pertaining to employees and other items protected by law. 

The board unanimously approved an agreement with Frontline Technologies, a school administrative software provider. The district employs a part-time employee to schedule substitute teachers, a service offered by the software provider. Assistant Superintendent T.C. Wall said the board discussed the item in closed session because the issue has to do with decisions on how to “restructure and utilize personnel.”

Other actions

The board also reviewed and approved a series of district contracts in open session, including:

  • CPI Technologies for printers and copiers at $4,179.84 monthly
  • JMark for network management service at $5,592.34 monthly
  • Ozarks Coca-Cola 
  • Rains and Martin Transportation 
  • Lockhart Transportation for special needs and Little Liberators daycare transportation
  • Berry recommended the district buy a tractor with higher horsepower. Crown Implement won the bid. The district will pay $22,000 after trading in its current tractor. 

The board will next convene at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, for a planning session. 

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