Employees of Delta County Joint School District #50 will receive a one-time stipend in lieu of step increases this year. The recommendation of the school district's budget committee was approved 4-1 by the Delta County Board of Education May 16.
All school district employees, with the exception of superintendent Caryn Gibson, will receive the 1% stipend, to be paid over the course of the school year. Board member Kathy Svenson cast the dissenting vote because she thought more administrators should be excluded.
Gibson reported the budget committee met three times trying unsuccessfully to come up with a balanced budget that would include pay raises for staff members. Although per-pupil funding is expected to be higher this year, three major factors are offsetting the revenue increase. First, the school district is anticipating a drop in enrollment and is budgeting for 20 fewer students in 2013-14. Second, health insurance costs are increasing and finally, the school district is looking at an additional $200,000 in mandated increases for PERA, the employee retirement plan.
Gibson pointed out the 1% stipend for employees will be offset by an increase in health insurance and deductibles. Currently, single employees pay monthly premiums of $70. Under the suggested increase, premiums will be $82 and the deductible will be bumped up $500 to $2,500. The school district's contribution will increase from $350 to $360 monthly for singles and from $650 to $695 for families. School board members discussed maintaining the current deductibles but recognized premiums would increase as a result.
The increase in health insurance will cost the school district an estimated $191,000. The 1% stipend totals $270,000, and a mandated increase in employee retirement plans adds another $200,000. The increase in revenues adds up to $661,000, making for a tight budget in 2013-14. In addition, sequestration means lost revenue of over $120,000.
With declining property values, the school district is looking at a reduction in property tax revenue, but business manager Wendy Everett anticipates state equalization funds to be increased to balance things out. She said the conversion of Vision from a contract school to a charter school should also be a wash.
The school district plans to dip into reserves to pay for new accounting and human resources software.
At the recommendation of the school district's auditors, accounting operations will be centralized at the district office. Everett invited several software firms in for demonstrations before recommending Infinite Visions. If the $275,000 expenditure is approved, Delta-Montrose Technical College will pick up $25,000 of the cost. Support and upgrades will run $25,000 annually.
Everett was unable to attend the school board meeting and Gibson provided only the "big picture" of the 2013-14 budget. At a special meeting May 28, Everett went through the budget with school board members line by line.
To balance the budget, there will be some classified staff reductions in the North Fork schools, building budgets will be reduced, and funding will be cut for operations and maintenance.
The budget will be considered for adoption at the June 20 school board meeting.blog comments powered by Disqus