EDUCATION

Balanced budget approved at Rockridge

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Rockridge School Board has been working for several months on this year’s budget, trimming $900,000 off what last year’s budget was. At Monday night’s Sept. 13, 2010 school board meeting, the board approved a balanced budget that projects $11,099,150 in revenues and $11,033,800 in expenses, $65,350 more in revenues than expenses.

The largest outlay for the district is the education fund, with $9,343,450 anticipated in expenses and $8,995,000 for revenues.

Besides the education fund, the budget revenue and expenses respectively are Operations and maintenance -- $1,119,800 revenue $815,500 expenses; Transportation -- $874,850 revenue, $874,850 expenses and Workman’s Compensation, $109,500 revenue, $0 expenses.

“How are we going to settle our $300,000 deficit in the education fund?” one board member asked.

Superintendent Jack Bambrick explained that the district’s financial situation a year ago also looked good. “This year we spent $81,541 on supplies. Last year we spent $165,000.”

Board member Dan Neneman talked over some of the belt tightening the district has resorted to, including making various cuts in the budget and increasing fees. “A total of around $900,000 in cuts was approved by the finance committee,’ he said. “The individual goal was to reduce all supply line items by 20 percent,” said Neneman. One example of fee increase was the charge for driver’s education, which went up to $150 per student. “We did not implement the fee the first semester this year,” he said. Another item the finance committee looked at was renegotiating the audit, insurance and maintenance contracts.

Another fee that has not been implemented was an increase in parking fees, which would bring in an additional $1,200.

With the pre-kindergarten program, the board tried to save $35,000 in transportation fees. “We are well on our way to implementing the $900,000 reduction in the budget,” said Neneman.

He said the operating fund has had a $1 million deficit for the past two years. “All funds had $1.6 million in deficits,” said Neneman.

Where the district is at this fiscal year after the first two months – the education fund expenses are down $200,000 from last year; the operations and maintenance fund is down $90,000, and transportation is down $22,000 in comparison. At this time a year ago the district had $2.2 million in revenue. All four funds for this year’s revenue are at $2.5 million.