Mehlville school board eyes approval of 2009-2010 budget

By MIKE ANTHONY

A proposed budget for the 2009-2010 school year that projects nearly $102.9 million in revenue with anticipated expenditures totaling more than $101.9 million is scheduled to be considered today — June 25 — by the Mehlville Board of Education.

The Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the boardroom of the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road.

The proposed 2009-2010 budget projects revenue totaling $102,899,127 with anticipated expenditures of $101,915,479 — a surplus of $983,648.

The original budget for the 2008-2009 school year adopted in June 2008 by the Board of Education projected $102,346,006 in revenue and $102,897,834 in expenditures — a deficit of $551,828. Despite that $551,828 deficit, the district did not go into the red, but dipped into its reserves. Current projections estimate an overall fund balance of $18,410,875 on June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

An overall fund balance of $19,394,523 is projected on June 30, 2010, according to the proposed 2009-2010 budget.

The proposed 2009-2010 budget projects operating revenue of $92,696,127 with anticipated expenditures of 91,894,775.

Current projections estimate operating revenue of $91,112,209 for the 2008-2009 school year with operating expenditures of $88,077,631.

Under state law, a school district is required to maintain a 3-percent balance in their operating funds or be considered a “distressed” district.

The proposed 2009-2010 budget projects an operating fund balance of $11,691,774 — 12.72 percent — on June 30, 2010. That balance includes food service, activities and athletics. Excluding those, a fund balance of $10,451,233 — 12.18 percent — is projected on June 30, 2010.

When the original 2008-2009 budget was adopted in June 2008, an operating fund balance of $8,479,054 — 9.62 percent — was projected on June 30 of this year. That balance included food service, activities and athletics. Excluding those, a fund balance of $7,399,698 — 9.06 percent — originally was projected.

Current 2008-2009 projections estimate an operating fund balance of $10,890,422 — 12.36 percent — on June 30. That balance includes food service, activities and athletics. Excluding those, a fund balance of $9,605,831 — 11.73 percent — is projected on June 30.

District officials estimate the 2009-2010 tax rate will be $3.3843 per $100 of assessed valuation compared to the current rate of $3.2804.

Regarding local-tax revenue, Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch wrote in his budget message, “… Overall, assessed valuation in the district, excluding personal property, dropped by 3.45 percent. As a result, the district will be able to roll up its tax rate to collect the same amount of taxes as the prior year. However, for personal property, the rate does not get adjusted, it is applied to the value of personal property within the district. Due to the slow down in the economy, it is anticipated that the value will decline from prior years as individuals purchased fewer automobiles and businesses made less investment in new equipment.”

Regarding salaries for the 2009-2010 school year, Knobloch wrote, “Certified teachers who had their salary steps frozen in 2008-’09 moved two steps on the salary schedule. In addition, an additional step was added to the MA (Master’s), MA+30 (Master’s +30) and MAD (Multiple Advanced Degrees) channels. The starting salary was increased by $230 and each step on the salary schedule was increased by the same amount. The overall salary increase was 4.7 percent. Certified administrators received an average increase of 3 percent. The remainder of the increase in certified salaries is the result of positions added, which will be paid from AARA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds.

“Classified salaries were increased an average of 4.3 percent. The remaining increase results from added costs associated with the lighting project and grounds-keeping,” he wrote.

Regarding retirement and other benefits, Knobloch wrote, “Retirement, Medicare and Social Security have been adjusted to correspond with salary adjustments and an increase in the number of positions. The retirement contribution rate will increase another 0.5 percent for certificated staff to 13.5 percent and another 0.25 percent for classified staff to 6.5 percent for 2009-’10.

“District-paid insurance expenditures per employee will remain at prior-year levels.”

For supplies, the chief financial officer wrote, “Total costs are budgeted to in-crease by 2.17 percent. The textbook budget was increased by $166,000. It had been reduced in 2008-’09. Supplies show a 10-percent increase. This item also was reduced in prior years …”