Proposed ’06-’07 Mehlville School District budget projects $1.5 million surplus

By MIKE ANTHONY

A proposed budget for the 2006-2007 school year that projects total expenditures of nearly $97 million with anticipated revenue of more than $98.5 million is scheduled to be considered tonight — June 29 — by the Mehlville Board of Education.

The Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the John Cary Early Childhood Center, 3155 Koch Road.

The proposed 2006-2007 budget anticipates total expenditures of $96,977,601 with projected revenue of $98,539,140 — a surplus of $1,561,539. Based on an anticipated balance of $13,107,401 for the 2005-2006 school year, a balance of $14,668,940 is projected on June 30, 2007.

In June 2005, the board voted 6-1 to approve a budget for the 2005-2006 school year that projected total expenditures of $96,105,837 with anticipated revenue of $94,086,255 — a deficit of $2,019,582. Board member Karl Frank Jr., who now serves as vice president, was opposed.

Despite the projected deficit when the 2005-2006 budget was adopted, a balance of $9,887,111 was projected on June 30, 2006. That balance is now projected to be $3,220,290 more — $13,107,401.

For the coming school year, operating expenditures of $84,393,534 are projected with anticipated revenue of $84,508,912 — a surplus of $115,378.

An operating fund balance of $5,840,905 — including food service, activities and athletics — is anticipated on June 30, 2006. After transferring $150,000 to the capital projects fund, an operating fund balance of $5,806,283 — 6.88 percent — is projected on June 30, 2007. Under state law, a school district is required to maintain a 3-percent balance in its operating fund — a combination of the general fund and the teachers’ fund — or be considered a “distressed” district.

When the 2005-2006 budget was adopted in June 2005, an operating fund balance of $3,457,736 — 4.16 percent — was projected. Current projections — including food service, activities and athletics — place the 2005-2006 operating fund balance at $5,840,905 — 7.01 percent.

A “blended” tax rate of $3.6463 is estimated for 2006-2007 — 0.0068 cents less than the current “blended” tax rate of $3.6531.

“District enrollment continues to be relatively stable, but is declining by 100-150 students per year,” according to budget information prepared for the Board of Education by Associate Superintendent A.D. McClain and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Keyser. “In 2004-2005 and 2005-’06, very large classes moved from the middle schools to the high schools and the administration is projecting the same for 2006-’07. Beginning in 2007-’08, the administration is projecting smaller classes to move from the middle schools to the high schools. The budget has adjusted high school staffing to accommodate these changes.”

For the 2006-2007 school year, Mehlville will reduce the number of full-time teaching positions by 15, or 2.1 percent, according to the information prepared by Mc-Clain and Keyser. Five administrative positions — 9 percent — will be reduced. In addition, 22.5 full-time classified positions will be reduced for the coming school year as well as a number of part-time posts in the areas of bus transportation and recess aides.

For the 2005-2006 school year, the district did not eliminate any teaching positions, but 1.5 administrative positions were cut. For the 2004-2005 school year, six administrative positions were cut, 42.5 teaching positions were reduced and 15.5 support-services positions were cut.

Regarding projected revenue for the 2006-2007 school year, the information prepared by McClain and Keyser notes:

• State aid from the foundation formula will increase by $490,000 as Mehlville no longer is a hold-harmless district under the new state formula.

• Local tax revenue is projected to increase by 1.42 percent — $804,000.

• The district is planning to decrease voluntary transfer student enrollment by 16 percent — roughly 200 students. In addition, the district likely will receive less per student. “Revenue is forecasted to decrease by $350,000, even with the one-time carryover payment this year.”

• Forecasted revenue projections for transportation will decrease by $110,000 because the reimbursement percentage has decreased by 30 percent.

Regarding proposed expenditures for the 2006-2007 school year, the information prepared by McClain and Keyser notes:

• Teachers will receive raises ranging from 1.62 percent to 6.88 percent, while the overall salary increase for administrative and classified staff is 4.5 percent.

• Property casualty and liability insurance premiums were increased by $90,000 based on expected premium increases.

• The proposed instructional materials budget was increased by $385,000, which includes $50,000 of testing money that previously was budgeted in the textbook fund.

• The proposed textbook budget was in-creased by $113,000. This budget was reduced by $50,000 of testing money now included in general supplies.

• The proposed budget for new buses was increased to $330,000 from $169,500 to purchase six buses instead of three.