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Springville-GI Board holds preliminary 2013-14 budget discussions

SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute Business Administrator Ted Welch presented the S-GI School Board with a budget overview, during the board’s Jan. 26 meeting, reminding those present about the many unfunded mandates that must be covered, by the school, each year.

The visual presentation given by Welch and Springville-GI Superintendent Paul Connelly flashed through a list of those mandates, allowing the audience to appreciate the scale of the mandates the school is funding.

Welch said that the school is not disputing the validity or necessity of enacting these mandates, but noted that the monies to pay for these requirements had to come from somewhere, in the budget. “These are things that we are forced to do, by law, and that are either not funded at all or are underfunded,” Welch said. Connelly added, “We don’t have a choice. Each has a cost and a required time frame.”

Welch listed several factors that are impacting this year’s budget process, including the increase in state aid, which is lower than expected; the potential limit of the levy tax cap (which Welch said will be more than 2 percent) and the debt service. The district’s teacher retirement system increased by 13.5 percent and the employee retirement system went up by 6.5 percent.

Welch also pointed out that the school incurred an additional $650,000 in contractual increases, from this year to next year. “These are ones we cannot renegotiate,” he said, in a response to a query from Board Member Kara Kane.

The budget process continues, despite unknown costs in the areas of health insurance, fuel, utilities and potential new mandates. Welch said that the cost of fuel and the school’s utilities seem to have stabilized, for the time being.

The district currently has $16,988 in its capital reserve, $1,257,696 in its unemployment reserve, $700,476 in its workers compensation reserve, $331 in its insurance reserve, $355,976 in its retirement contribution reserve, $2,181,735 in its restricted employee benefits accrued liability and $61,296 in its debt service reserve, for a total of $4,574,498. The tax reduction, property loss and liability, repair, tax certiorari and insurance recovery reserves are currently empty.

The 2012-13 budget included plans for $33,889,410 in revenue. Welch projected that the actual amount will be $34,076,220, a difference of $186,810. On the expenditure side, the revised budget indicated that the district would spend $34,186,063. The actual projected expenditure amount is $32,876,093, a difference of $1,309,970.

The budget process will continue until April 9, when Connelly’s proposed budget is presented. The last regular board of education meeting for budget adoption is scheduled for April 23.

During the public comment period, Springville resident Julie Francisco asked the board to be “more proactive, in giving taxpayers information and the tools to contact their legislators” about the issue of unfunded mandates. “I’m tired of seeing my kids’ education sucked away because of stupid rules,” she said.

Connelly said that the board should add an advocacy tab onto its website, providing links to the type of tools Francisco had requested. He added that form letters on how to contact government officials are already on the district website.

More information about the 2013-14 budget will be presented at upcoming Springville-GI School Board meetings and in future editions of the Springville Journal.
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