by Olivia Lueckemeyer
Amended RE1J budget reflects increase in revenue and expenditures
At a RE1J school board meeting on January 25, district business manager Stephanie Juneau presented the amended fiscal year 2016 budget, which the board subsequently approved. Perhaps the most significant change was an increase of $466,095.69 in general fund revenue from what was originally budgeted. This increase was the result of several factors, including additional funding from the Secure Rural Schools and READ acts, an increased per pupil revenue (PPR), and superfluous funding from various accounts throughout the rest of the budget.
General fund expenditures also increased by $190,833 from those originally budgeted. This was primarily a result of the hiring of an additional kindergarten teacher in Gunnison due to increased enrollment, the cost of health insurance for three permanent substitutes hired after the original budget was adopted, legal expenses, costs associated with the fire at Gunnison Community School, and additional expenses throughout the budget.
The net effect is that general fund expenses are amended to exceed general fund revenues by $460,937 this fiscal year as opposed to the originally budgeted $693,530 use of fund balance. This reduction leaves the general fund balance as a percentage of expenditures at 19.22 percent at the end of this fiscal year.
Minor adjustments made to mill levy fund
Expenses in the mill levy override fund (Fund 26) were amended to increase by $165,914 in fiscal year 2015-16 due to under-spending during fiscal year 2014-15, Stephanie Juneau told the RE1J school board on January 25. Expenditures that ended up costing less than budgeted included expenses associated with vocational technology, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), occupational therapy, professional development, Safe Schools infrastructure and instructional coaching. Most of these decreased expenses were due to time restraints.
Additional expenses added to Fund 26 include costs associated with building maintenance, board of education treasurer fees, and wages and benefits for Summer Experience staff and a new data analyst. Collectively, these expenses amount to $108,818.
In keeping with the original intent of the ballot, 46 percent of the Fund 26 budget has been allocated toward the direct instruction of students, 29 percent has been allocated toward maintaining a strong curriculum, and 24 percent has been set aside to maintain a strong infrastructure. For future inflation, $1,063,958 will be retained in Fund 26, as recommended by the mill levy review committee last December.
RE1J board approves appropriation resolution
At a RE1J board meeting on January 25, members moved to approve an appropriation resolution that would permit the use of a portion of the fiscal year 2015-16 general fund’s beginning fund balance to pay for a variety of expenses.
Those costs included $460,937 for potential health insurance expenses, $132,840 toward the food service fund for operating expenditures, and $75,485 toward the Capital Projects Fund to support planned expenditures in excess of revenue. The motion to approve the resolution carried unanimously.
RE1J health insurance report reflects decrease in cost
Health insurance consultants from the Hays Group reported to the RE1J school board the details of its financial report, updated to reflect the past six months. Currently RE1J is averaging 202 employees on its health insurance plan, with total net claims paid by the district averaging at $408 per employee per month. Total planning costs averaged at $548 per month. Total gross claims currently sit at $530,000 per year, or about $438 per employee per month. Due to lower claims, overall costs are down from fiscal year 2014-15. As of now, the district’s Health Insurance Fund 61 is $360,000 below budget.
Hays Group consultant Justin Troupe explained to the board, “We are in a great plan year right now. We are able to replenish a little of the reserve and hopefully that will give us some money for a good renewal going forward.”