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Rugby board OKs budget

By Staff | Jul 23, 2010

The Rugby school district’s 2010-11 fiscal year budget is calling for expenditures to outpace revenues, but the district’s overall financial picture remains healthy.

At its July 20 annual meeting, the school board reviewed and eventually passed the budget which projects expenses at $6.2 million and revenues of $5.8 million. The district does start the new year with a cash balance of $1.6 million, according to Jeff Lind, school superintendent.

The total general fund is 185 mills, but only 110 are levied locally with the remaining 75 covered through state dollars. The building fund levy is set at five mills; technology levy is five mills and special assessment levy is one and a half mills.

About 70 percent of expenses are tied to salary and benefits for teachers, administrators and support staff. The total expenditures are about $762,000 more than a year ago, but included in that figure are one-time stimulus dollars that total about $360,000 that are earmarked for new windows, lighting and electrical wiring at Ely Elementary. Salary increases and additional building improvements also contributed to the rise in expenses.

A new sound system in the Charles Hanneman Gymnasium will cost about $23,000. New locks on classroom doors at Ely Elementary, an added security measure, will cost about $20,000. Another project is adding voice mail capabilities to the phone system at both Ely and the Jr.-Sr. High. This feature will enable callers to leave messages directly to teachers and other staff. The cost to install voice mail is estimated at $12,000.

An increase in transportation costs of about $80,000 to $90,000 is expected. The district is currently negotiating a new contract with Hartley’s Busing and Charter Services, Rugby. The proposal is for the per-mile rate to go up from $1.70 to about $2.15. In return, Hartley’s is proposing to place newer buses on the rural routes, according to Chuck Volk, board member, who has been involved in contract talks with Hartley’s.

Currently, the district pays one fee to Hartley, but it’s likely a new contract will go to a per-mile payment format.

While the district is prepared to increase its per-mile payment for busing service, Lind said that is still within the busing rates around the state.

Rugby does receives state transportation aid which helps to offset some of its transportation costs.

The revenue side of the budget is also growing by about $100,000 from last year. District officials anticipate an increase in local taxable valuations for commercial, agriculture and residential property to boost the local school tax levy. There will also be additional tax funds from a completed wind tower project in the county. The final taxable valuation will be known in October

Per-pupil state funds and federal Title program funding contribute to the operating revenue.

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