Budget for 2017 OK’d by school board

Corporation starts process of upgrades on facilities

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is moving forward with a $112.6 million spending plan next year and has taken initial steps to plan for facility upgrades at local elementary schools.

The 2017 budget was approved on a final vote by school board members Monday after a recap from Vaughn Sylva, the district’s assistant superintendent for financial services. Sylva said the overall budget next year reflects a 1.4 percent increase compared to 2016.

General fund expenditures are projected at about $72.8 million for next year, up from $71.8 million in 2016. Increases included in the general fund are attributed to a negotiated 2 percent across-the-board raise for employees and adding five employees, which includes three certified staff members.

The district has also set aside $1.3 million to replace seven or eight buses next year, Sylva said. He said BCSC has a 12-year replacement schedule, which calls for 10 buses to be replaced annually. However, he said that because of property tax-cap losses and pension neutrality, the district won’t be able to purchase the full 10 buses.

The preliminary tax rate was set at 0.9854 per $100 of assessed value. The final rate will be determined in January by the state Department of Local Government Finance. Sylva said he anticipates the rate next year to be the same or less than this year’s figure, which is 0.8566 per $100 of assessed value.

Meanwhile, the school district plans to pursue $6.7 million in general obligation bonds for renovation projects at four local elementary schools.

Superintendent Jim Roberts said the district plans to improve instructional learning spaces at Clifty Creek, Smith and Taylorsville elementary schools. The improvements, he said, will help deliver better instructional opportunities to students by utilizing technology and delivering project-based learning.

In addition, BCSC plans to make improvements to windows and the roof at Parkside Elementary School, Roberts said.

Each of the four building-renovation projects will cost less than $2 million, he said.

Officials also plan to assess playgrounds located at 11 of the elementary schools before prioritizing them based on needs.

The board will discuss general obligation bonds during its Nov. 14 meeting at Columbus Signature Academy’s Fodrea campus, officials said.