After a previous overview of the entire superintendent's budget Feb. 7, the Garden City school district presented the 2012-13 budget non-instructional expenditures, in addition to a summary of budget drivers and respective cost saving measures, at Tuesday evening's Board of Education meeting and budget session.
The presentation focused on the capital and administrative parts of the budget – representing 14.84 percent and 10.83 percent of the total budget, respectively.
"This action has remained pretty stable over the years," superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen said about the proportions of budget allocations. "It doesn't vary much from one year to another, so we are happy about that."
Feirsen said that the administrative budget is proposed at $11,370,846. He added that capital expenses account for $15,575,318 while program costs stand proposed at $78,030,587. These three sections add up to the total proposed 2012-13 budget of $104,976,751.
Looking to the future, the district is hoping to complete several capital projects. Feirsen said that "for next year these are things we would like to do." Some of the intended projects include locker replacements at the middle school, replacement of the auditorium seating at Stewart School and improvement of the front lighting at Locust School.
The main budget drivers for the upcoming year, according to the presentation, include pension and healthcare increases, debt service, 2009 bond, contractual salary hikes and special education. Pensions and healthcare account for a 1.33 percent budget impact, while the 2009 bond has a 1.12 percent budget impact. For the 2012-13 school year, the proposed budget drivers have a 4.96 percent total budget impact and a 4.49 percent tax impact.
"Spending reductions were made in the budget to reduce the budget-to-budget increase and the tax increase," Feirsen said, adding that if these reductions were not made the impact percentages would have been reflected in the proposed 12-13 budget.
Assistant superintendent for business and finance Albert Chase explained that the proposed budget calls for $6,235,289 allocated for debt services - a 55.21 percent increase over the previous budget.
"We have taken money out of the utilities, we’ve put it into debt services," Chase said. This is due, impart, to the energy performance contract. "...there is a big jump in debt service. When you put the two together they balance out."
Chase said that debt services will go up about $800,000 next year and $250,000 the year after. Feirsen added that debt services will begin to decline in 2015. Besides the 2009 investment bond, the district also has debt service in the bonds of 1998 and 2005.
The district plans to use overtime controls, energy saving, reductions in personnel and "expansion of cooperative bids," in addition to other measures, to save on costs, Feirsen said.
"We are at the point, due to the kind of perfect storm of factors, where we really have to make some very difficult choices," Feirsen said. “On the one hand … we have the need to make a budget that makes sense for our community – that people can afford and support. On the other hand, we have programs that are really important to our community, that are central to maintaining the status of this school district as one of the leaders nationally - not just locally, but nationally.”
The next budget presentation will take place Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 8:15 p.m. at Garden City High School.