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Initial 2018 budget presented to board

March 20, 2017 – One of the final tasks for retiring superintendent Dr. David Lawrence will be having a budget adopted before the mandated June, 30 deadline, also his last day before he retires.

The first step in that process was at the Board of Education’s regular meeting on Monday, March 13. Dr. Lawrence presented a $33 million budget to the board with the proposal to have about $330,000 in deficit spending.

The deficit spending would accomplish the board’s goal of spending down the district’s reserve closer to its goal of 22 percent of the budget.

“The board has a goal of 22 to 27 percent,” Dr. Lawrence said. “We’re good if you keep it that way. We’ve been at 25 (percent) forever. Going into this current budget year, the board wanted to lower that. Why are we at 25? Our auditor told them that anything over 20 percent is fine. So they wanted to get it down to 23 percent. I think we could do a little bit better than that. We’ll see how that turns out.”

One of the unknowns presented in the budget was the cost of the district’s health insurance premiums. Dr. Lawrence assumed that the number would come in at a 10 percent increase however, that number came in at 14 percent, meaning the district will have to make some tough choices moving forward. One option is to keep the district at paying $510 each month towards its employees premium and passing the increase on to the employees. This would see their monthly portion of the bill go from under $40 per month to over $100. Another option presented would end the district’s 100 percent coverage of vision and dental insurance and use that savings to lower the employee’s monthly share to roughly $60. The final decision will likely come at the April board meeting.

Read the rest of this story in the Tuesday, March 21 issue of the Standard


-Bryce Mereness


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