Lindbergh previews 2022-2023 budget; funds impacted by student attendance during pandemic

Lindbergh previews 2022-2023 budget; funds impacted by student attendance during pandemic

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Ahead of its budget approval in June, the Lindbergh Board of Education reviewed goals and probable new revenue/expenditures at a board workshop May 5.

Chief Financial Officer Joël Scheible said the budget will align to district Compass goals like addressing efficiencies and competitive wages and, as usual, the goal is to keep new expenditures equal to new revenue. 

Scheible said she expects minimal increase in local taxes, but the addition of the Sunset Hills Bass Pro Shops in the future will increase evaluation and benefit the district. The Bass Pro was recently approved by the Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen and is expected to open in November.

“That is considered new construction, that property was there and now its value has gone up and they’ll give us some money for that,” Scheible said. 

At the state level some of the district’s revenue was hurt by the pandemic through student attendance. Scheible said Lindbergh almost always grows in attendance, but in 2021-2022 it dropped off and caused a loss of thousands in state revenue. She said the state is allowing schools to use attendance data from 2019-2020 this year because it knows attendance has dropped. 

Scheible said if the state doesn’t change the way it handles the attendance formula the district could see millions in funding loss in the near future.

One final new revenue is the possible passage of a Missouri bill which could cover transportation funding for districts. Scheible said the district currently spends $2 million on transportation each year, with about $300,000 received from the state to cover it. Superintendent Tony Lake said if it passes and school reaches required efficiency, that revenue could greatly increase. 

“Annually our goal … is to have revenue match expenditures. This year we are not going to meet our goal at this time,” Scheible said. “We’re optimistic that if this transportation thing happens that balance is going to get better. As of today we don’t know any solutions that have come about due to COVID.”

In total the district is expected to see $550,000 in new revenues and efficiencies and $2.1 million in new expenditures. 

Major expenditures include salaries, which are increasing by three percent; increases such as the cost of the supply chain and inflation for goods; an increase in wages for support staff to stay competitive in hiring and staff additions for growth and programming.

Scheible said 21 teachers are retiring this year in the district and when they retire making top salaries and are replaced with college graduates, the district sees some savings in the salary department.