Moorhead School Board approves budget for 2018-19
August 23, 2018
During the June 25 meeting, the Moorhead School Board approved the district’s annual operating plan, which includes the preliminary budget for the 2018-19 school year. General fund revenues are projected at $84 million with expenses projected to be $85.6 million.
The district’s revenues for 2018-19 will increase primarily because of a 2 percent increase to the general education aid formula and an estimated increase in student enrollment of approximately 190 students, said Brandon Lunak, superintendent.
Expenditures are increasing as the district continues to address the operating levy priorities and enrollment growth. The primary reasons for the increase are the addition of approximately seven full-time equivalent teaching positions and five support staff positions. Additionally, two school buses and a van will be purchased in 2018-19 to continue upgrading the district’s bus fleet.
In November 2016, district residents approved an operating levy renewal that will provide $223.66 per pupil in voter-approved funding each year for the next 10 years beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
Revenue from renewal of the operating levy will address these five priority areas identified by the School Board: support learning and operate our new and existing schools for our growing student enrollment; maintain average class sizes; provide a source of stable and predictable revenue to avoid reductions; maintain and replace technology equipment; and maintain access to education programs including world languages and early childhood.
Ninety-nine percent of Minnesota school districts use operating levy funding. Statewide the average operating levy authority is $1,187 per pupil. Moorhead Area Public Schools is below the state average at $947.66 per pupil — of which $223.66 is voter-approved and $724 is board approved. The operating levy generates approximately $1.5 million for the school district.
The result of the recommended budget is a fund balance decrease of $1.5 million for 2018-19. The fund balance is projected to be 16.59 percent of total expenditures. This falls below 17 percent, which is the target fund balance required in School Board policy.
The board was provided with projections for the next three years. Assuming no increases in revenue from the state, the district’s expenditures are projected to exceed revenue by approximately $2.1 million for fiscal year 2020, by $2.8 million for fiscal year 2021, and by $4.2 million for fiscal year 2022.
Lunak also reviewed the preliminary staffing plan, enrollment projections, and food service, community service, debt service, and building construction funds. A revised budget will be presented to the board in January 2019.
The food service expenditures are increasing for 2018-19 with the purchase of a central freezer at the operations center and additional hours for some food service employees. Student meal prices will remain the same, while the adult meal price will increase to $3.75 this year to be compliant with federal requirements.
A separate fund was established to track revenues and expenditures for the construction work that received voter approval in November 2015. Total expenditures on the projects are at $76.2 million. Renovations are being completed this summer at Moorhead High School to increase safety and security for students.