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School district paints healthy financial picture with $34M budget
By By Alica P. Thiele
Challenger reporter

July 23. 2014 10:02AM
Last week, the Brandon Valley school board approved a $34 million budget for the 2014-2015 school year.

“I’m very pleased to report this budget to you this year,” district business manager Paul Lundberg told school board members at the July 14 meeting. “Our school district is in tremendous shape financially, I believe.”

The budget includes a $254,000 deficit, but no worries, the district’s fund balance, or reserves, will cover that.

“It’s a planned deficit,” Lundberg said. The district has a “healthy” fund balance of $5.9 million, and the board’s long-term goal is to whittle those reserves down to 15 percent to 20 percent of the budget. “I think it’s a prudent use of our fund balance to systematically bring that down,” Lundberg said.

Of the total budget, $20.6 million of revenue will go to the general fund, $4.1 million to capital outlay, $4.4 million to special education, $405,000 to pensions, $2.4 to bond redemption and $2.1 million to food service.

Continued economic growth in the area helps bolster the district’s financial position, even though growth has slowed in the last five or six years as the nation experienced a great recession.

“The trend is starting to go back to where we were prior to that,” Lundberg said.
“We’re predicting just under 6 percent growth in valuation next year, which is a very positive situation.”

Estimated district valuation is $1.4 billion for the upcoming school year. Just 14 years ago, in the 1999-2000 school year, the valuation was $500 million, and the district topped the $1 billion mark in the 2007-08 school year.

Lundberg predicts 3,678 students enrolled for the coming school year. At this point, enrollment is 3,637, but final numbers won’t be known until the first week of school this fall.

Brandon Valley spends $6,381 per pupil each school year. Of that, the district will receive $4,781 per student from state aid.

The general fund gets 54.3 percent of its revenue from state sources; 39.2 percent from local property taxes; 3.8 percent from other local sources such as interest income, gate admissions and rental income; 1.9 percent from federal sources; and .9 percent from county sources.

The general fund, which is $20.6 million of the total budget, will pay out 86.5 percent of expenditures on salaries and benefits; 5.6 percent on supplies and materials; 4.9 percent on other purchased services; 2.6 percent on utilities; and .4 percent on miscellaneous.

The capital outlay fund, which is $4.1 million of the total budget, will spend 21.3 percent on facility improvements, which includes finishing the intermediate school and an almost $500,000 upgrade to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and sprinkler systems at the high school; 22.7 percent on technology purchases; 13.7 percent on debt service; 10.5 percent on textbooks and library books; 16.7 for utilities and property insurance; and 6.3 percent on transportation.

Lundberg said the district should expect to spend almost, if not, $1 million a year on technology.

The special education fund is $4.3 million of the total budget. The pension fund is $405,000 of the total budget, bond redemption is $2.4 million and food service accounts for $2.1 million of the total budget.
In other business, the board adopted their regular procedures for the coming year at the July 14 meeting. Board members will receive $60 per meeting. Renee Ullom was re-elected president of the board, and Sue Hegland was elected vice president.
Board members were named to committees as follows:

Ullom: Alternative education (chairman); student activities, curriculum and technology; and transportation.

Hegland: Student activities, curriculum and technology (chairman); personnel welfare (chairman); alternative education; city affairs and legislation.

Gregg Ode: Buildings and grounds (chairman); transportation (chairman) and personnel welfare.

Cary Schroeder: Safety (chairman): buildings and grounds; and child nutrition and wellness.

Sandy Klatt: Child nutrition and wellness (chairman); city affairs and legislation; and safety.

The board named the Brandon Valley Challenger as its official newspaper, and it approved First National Bank and Home Federal Savings Bank as its official depositories.

The board will continue to meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m., except in July and December, when there will be only one meeting, on the second Monday of the month. The board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and Tuesday, May 26 because of Monday holidays. All meetings will be held at the high school community room, with the exception of two meetings each year, which are held in the Valley Springs Elementary band room.





The Brandon Valley school board approved a $34 million budget for the 2014-2015 school year on July 14. Challenger file photo



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