Balanced budget approved 4-0 by Lindbergh board

Prop L expected to generate nearly $8.4 million for ’11-’12.

By MIKE ANTHONY

A balanced operating budget for the 2011-2012 school year was adopted last week by the Lindbergh Board of Education.

Board members voted 4-0 to approve the operating budget, which projects operating revenue of $60,812,763 with anticipated expenditures of $59,435,504 — a surplus of $1,377,259. Board members Mark Rudoff, Kara Gotsch and Vicki Lorenz Englund were absent from the June 14 meeting.

Operating revenue for the coming school year is projected to total $7,548,236 more than operating revenue for the 2010-2011 school year while 2011-2012 operating expenditures are estimated to total $2,112,284 over 2010-2011 operating expenditures.

A 65-cent tax-rate increase approved by Lindbergh voters last November is projected to generate nearly $8.4 million for the 2011-2012 school year. But except for the $8,378,450 in Prop L revenue and modest increases in sales tax and tuition, all other revenue sources are declining, Chief Financial Officer Pat Lanane told the board during a budget workshop last month.

The total revenue decline is estimated at nearly $850,000.

The Board of Education’s decision in June 2010 to place the tax-rate increase before voters in November came after making $4.7 million in cuts for the 2010-2011 school year. For the 2010-2011 school year, 60 positions were eliminated, including 45 teaching positions.

Prop L will increase Lindbergh’s operational tax rate to $3.40 per $100 of assessed valuation from the current rate of $2.75.

The district’s total tax rate will increase to $3.81 per $100 from the current rate of $3.16 per $100.

Revenue from Prop L allowed the board to approve a balanced budget for the first time since 2002.

Had the tax-rate increase not been approved, 80 teaching positions would have had to be eliminated. As a result, class sizes would have increased to the mid-30s from the current size of the mid-20s.

Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call that district officials appreciate the community’s support in passing Prop L, but also noted Lindbergh will have to continue to “stay lean.”

“Prop L was no windfall as we’ve said a thousand times, but it saved us from laying off 80 teachers and provided a little bit of a cost-of-living raise for our staff,” he said.

At the May 24 workshop, the board voted unanimously to approve a two-year salary schedule for teachers that provides an average annual increase of 2.8 percent.

The schedule will provide teachers with a 3.87-percent salary increase for the 2011-2012 school year and a 1.78-percent pay raise for the 2012-2013 school year.

Under the approved agreement with the Lindbergh National Education Association, the increase in total compensation — salary, insurance and retirement benefits — will be 4.54 percent for the 2011-2012 school year. For the 2012-2013 school year, the increase in total compensation will amount to 2.27 percent.

In his budget message, Lanane wrote: “While this budget reflects a surplus of $1.3 million, salary and benefit commitments have already been made for ’12-’13 that will match this surplus and revenues are not expected to change significantly in ’12-’13 as reassessment will not occur again until 2013.”