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District Update 9-8-10

by Bill Heimann

September 07, 2010

The purpose of this message is to provide district news from the perspective of the superintendent. Topics include a summary of the September Board of Education meeting, 2010-11 Budget.

Prior to its monthly meeting on September 7, the Board held a public hearing to receive input on its proposed budget (Click here to view) which was published in the Waverly News last week. No members of the public provided comment concerning the budget. During the regular meeting, Mr. Ricenbaw, high school principal, and HS Spanish teacher Mrs. Stahr, presented how teachers continue to learn and implement strategies to keep students engaged in learning. The Board received information regarding the NeSA-R test results; K-12 student enrollment (nearing 1800).

The Nebraska School Board’s Association recognized School District 145 Board of Education as a recipient for the “Outstanding Board Award.” Fourteen (out of 237) school boards met the criteria. School board members were also recognized for individual levels of achievement. Click here to read about this honor!

The Building and Grounds committee gave an update on the high school drain tile project. Concrete has been removed in the main gym, revealing standing water in the sand layer. Drain tile has been installed in the gym and water has begun to drain from the area. Work has begun on the exterior drain tile system. The project is on schedule.

The Board of Education approved the following:
1. Designated Waverly High School, Eagle Elementary as Red Cross Emergency Shelters.
2. Resolution for a line of credit from Horizon Bank for $5,750,000 to be accessed as needed during 2010-11 to meet cash flow requirements in the general fund.
3. Refinancing of school bonds from the 2004 series (This will reduce the amount of interest paid on these bonds by approximately $330,000 – meaning that over the next ten years less tax dollars will be used to pay for the bond interest)
4. Issuance of bonds to pay for the high school project, plus exterior doors and fire doors at elementary school buildings.
5. Negotiated Agreement with the Waverly Transportation Association (2% wage increase)

The 2009-10 fiscal year for the district concluded on August 31, 2010. The General Fund (main operating fund for the district) has approximately $1,000,000 (out of $17.7 million general fund budget) remaining that will be carried over into 2010-11. That is an increase of approximately $700,000 from this point last year. Exact figures from the budget year will not be available until after our external audit occurs this fall. The ending balance from this year becomes the beginning balance for the next fiscal year.

Although $1,000,000 is a lot of money, general fund expenditures for the month of August 2010 were $1,644,877. As you read earlier, the Board approved a line of credit (same as previous years) to be accessed as needed. This means we will take out a loan to meet our monthly obligations, then at the end of the fiscal year we will pay back the amount of money we borrowed (plus interest). By the end of the fiscal year (August), we receive enough tax revenue to pay off the loan, but then start over again in September.  School districts are allowed (by statute) to utilize Tax Anticipation Notes. During 2009-10 fiscal year, the line of credit actually used was $3,970,000. In August 2010, we paid back the principal amount plus $87,939 in interest. By comparison during the 2008-09 fiscal year, the line of credit we accessed was $4,355,000, plus we paid $125,626.50 in interest.

District 145 revenue is mainly from local property tax collections, state and federal aid. The local and state revenue is received in payments during the year, meaning most of the revenue is not available at the start of the fiscal year. Federal dollars have to be expended by the district first, then application is made for reimbursement.

Our property valuations for the General Fund increased .92% in the district over last year. The General Fund budget will increase .95%, or about 169,000. With the loss of approximately $450,000 in state aid last year, and $729,952 this year, we have made up the lost revenue by reducing expenditures, reducing staffing positions, using ARRA (federal stimulus funds), and proposing a 1.92% levy increase. For 2011-12, we expect to lose at least an additional $500,000 in revenue due to the loss of federal stimulus dollars. In 2009-10 and for 2010-11 we have been preparing for the funding “cliff.”

The plan is still a work in progress. The Board directed me to put together a budget that allows us to maintain our current programs, which is what I have done. We will need to continue our efforts to become more efficient, and maintain our reduced level of expenditures that occurred last year.

For the long-term, it is a shared responsibility. Dollars allocated to each building and programs are derived from the district’s total budget. We must focus on our needs and prioritize our wants, and share the responsibility for the success of the district.

We are fortunate that our district has a growing student population. We are fortunate to have tremendous support from parents and patrons.

The purpose of this message is to provide information. Please contact me with questions or comments.

Thanks to the efforts of all personnel, including transportation, food service, maintenance, custodial, grounds keeping, office staff, teachers, support staff, and administrators, we are off to a great start this year. With our collective efforts, we will continue to provide a positive environment, which translates into enhanced student learning.

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