Projections show Mehlville’s reserves will fall below 13 percent by end of ’16

Board scheduled to consider OK’ing contract for auditorium

By Kari Williams

The Mehlville School District’s operating reserves will dip “slightly below” 13 percent by the end of fiscal 2016, according to preliminary projections Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch provided to the Board of Education.

Board members are on record as wanting to maintain at least 13 percent in operating reserves.

Using the district’s current budget and “various assumptions,” Knobloch projects the reserves, which are currently at 22.66 percent, or nearly $20 million, for fiscal 2012, will sit at 11.62 percent, or roughly $11 million, at the end of fiscal 2016.

The Board of Education was scheduled to discuss Knobloch’s five-year projections during a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday — after the Call went to press — in the boardroom of the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road.

Assumptions Knobloch used to arrive at the five-year projections include:

• Enrollment — Current enrollment is 9,540 students. With the addition of 350 full-time kindergarten students, enrollment is expected to increase to 9,890.

“This number is used to project state revenue for 2014 to 2017,” Knobloch wrote in information provided to the board.

• Revenues — “Local growth will be limited without an increase in local tax revenues,” Knobloch wrote.

He anticipates Proposition C sales-tax receipts “will increase as the economy improves and will also increase from the additional ADA (average daily attendance),” according to the CFO. “This will be offset due to the loss of tuition from current kindergarten students and the continued wind-down of the VICC (Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp.) program.”

At the state level, the current proration for the foundation formula is projected to be 92 percent.

“For purposes of the projection, the proration is increased 1 percent a year with 2017 projected at 96 percent,” Knobloch wrote.

• Expenditures — Staff is projected to remain at current levels with the exception of the additional teachers for full-day kindergarten.

“Net salary increases of between 1.5 percent and 2 percent are included in the projections,” Knobloch wrote.

Regarding benefits, retirement contribution rates will remain at current levels, and “increases in the annual expenditures will be limited to costs associated with higher overall salaries.”

“Medical costs are expected to increase 8 percent per year,” according to Knobloch. “The impact on district costs can only be kept below that level with plan design changes or shifting more premium costs to employees.”

• Capital — Expenditures “will be allocated based upon priorities outlined in the facilities plan,” Knobloch stated.

The district’s one-to-one open source technology program, which provides laptops for students at Oakville and Mehlville high schools, can be sustained through the five-year period at $500,000 per year.

Tuition-free, full-day kindergarten will not negatively impact the reserves, according to Knobloch.

Other items the board was scheduled to consider include:

• Approval of the district’s 2011-2012 audit.

• Awarding a contract for construction of a district auditorium.

• Consideration of the Missouri School Boards’ Association Vision Project.

• Board members’ interest in paperless board meetings.