Lindbergh Board of Education approves 2012-2013 budget with $29,000 surplus

Board approves resignation of Truman Middle principal

By Mike Anthony

An operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year that projects a surplus of more than $29,000 was approved last week by the Lindbergh Board of Education.

The Board of Education voted 5-0 June 12 to approve the budget for the coming school year.

Board Treasurer Kara Gotsch and board member Karen Schuster were absent.

The 2012-2013 operating budget projects expenditures of $60,969,554 with anticipated revenue of $60,998,867 — a surplus of $29,313.

A revised operating budget for the 2011-2012 school year projects expenditures totaling $60,774,352 with anticipated revenue of $61,229,423 — a surplus of $455,071.

The approved budget eliminates summer school for elementary and middle-school students and would reduce the district’s textbook budget for one year. Eliminating summer school for elementary and middle-school students will save $180,000, while the one-year reduction of the district’s textbook budget will save $320,000.

The 2012-2013 operating budget includes expenditure decreases totaling $868,000 and expenditure increases totaling $1,145,725 for the coming school year. The increase in expenditures includes $714,000 for employee salaries and benefits.

The board last year approved a two-year salary schedule for teachers that provides an annual average increase of 2.8 percent.

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

The increase in salary and benefits includes the 1.78-percent pay raise, a 5-percent increase in insurance premiums and mandated retirement contributions.

Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call board members were adamant the 2012-2013 budget be balanced.

“… The board is very — and rightfully so — very adamant that the budget will be a balanced one because of our reserves,” he said. “If you’re going unbalanced in a budget, you better have adequate reserves. Anything else would be foolhardy.

“We do not have adequate reserves,” he added. “Therefore, an unbalanced budget is to be avoided at all costs.”

An operating fund balance of more than $17.9 million is projected on June 30, 2013.

Noting the roughly $29,000 surplus, the superintendent said, “In terms of a $61 million budget, that’s about as close to the penny as you can get. So we’re happy about that.”

The reduction in the district’s textbook budget is just for one year.

“That’s not going to be able to be a permanent savings. It does come back,” he said.

Concerning the elimination of summer school for elementary and middle-school students, Simpson said, “We’re certainly not all that pleased about that, but we are definitely at the juncture of either you have to balance by eliminating programs or eliminating staff. We’ve already eliminated a lot of staff …

“We are truly sick of laying off staff, and we’re barely holding the high quality of Lindbergh education in place with the minimal staff we have. So to lower it further would be foolhardy because then all of a sudden you may jeopardize the quality of education,” he continued.

“Sooner or later if you keep cutting staff, that will occur. It will be a negative impact in the quality of education. The quality of education and maintaining that as a world-class education is our mission. It’s our focus and we protect that at all costs.”

In a separate matter June 12, the board voted during a closed session to accept the resignation of Truman Middle School Principal Jennifer Tiller, effective June 30.

That same night, the Pattonville Board of Education voted to name Tiller that district’s director of secondary education, effective July 1.

Tiller recently was selected as the 2012 Missouri Middle School Principal of the Year by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. She has served as Truman Middle School principal for the current school year. Before that, Tiller served as Sperreng Middle School principal since 2006.