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School district proposes $110M budget


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Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. officials will seek approval for a nearly $110 million budget for 2013, up 4.1 percent from this year. The increase reflects 2 percent raises, higher health costs and funding for early childhood education.

The state will have to approve the request, and school officials expect that the state will trim about $2.5 million from the budget. That would mean local schools next year are expected to spend about 1.8 percent more than this year.

In the November election, voters also could reject $1.8 million in early childhood education funding, which would make next year’s budget about even with this year’s.

The early childhood education measure would increase tax rates by about 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $16 annually after deductions, BCSC officials have said.

Jill Shedd, a school board member and assistant dean for teacher education at Indiana University in Bloomington, told the audience in L.F. Smith Elementary School’s gymnasium Monday that investments in early childhood education produce some of the greatest educational improvements.

By Boris Ladwig

bladwig@therepublic.com

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. officials will seek approval for a nearly $110 million budget for 2013, up 4.1 percent from this year. The increase reflects 2 percent raises, higher health costs and funding for early childhood education.

The state will have to approve the request, and school officials expect that the state will trim about $2.5 million from the budget. That would mean local schools next year are expected to spend about 1.8 percent more than this year.

In the November election, voters also could reject $1.8 million in early childhood education funding, which would make next year’s budget about even with this year’s.

The early childhood education measure would increase tax rates by about 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $16 annually after deductions, BCSC officials have said.

Jill Shedd, a school board member and assistant dean for teacher education at Indiana University in Bloomington, told the audience in L.F. Smith Elementary School’s gymnasium Monday that investments in early childhood education produce some of the greatest educational improvements.

“The evidence is overwhelming,” she said.

The budget proposal also includes 2 percent raises for employees and an increase of health costs of $1.2 million.

Vaughn Sylva, assistant superintendent of financial services, told the board that the school corporation would operate a balanced budget next year, meaning revenues would equal spending.

If the state approved all the spending as requested, spending in the school’s main operating fund, the general fund, will have grown about 1.8 percent per year since 2004, Sylva said.

The general fund is projected to end this year with a reserve of about $1.9 million — about $1.7 million below the state’s desired minimum, and about $6 million below the state’s “prudent range.” However, Sylva said after the meeting that the corporation, like many other school districts, typically boosts its cash flow at the beginning of the year with low-interest tax anticipation loans.

He also said that if the state were to cut $2.5 million from the corporation’s budget, local schools probably would reduce their projected spending on capital projects.

BCSC has budgeted about $14 million in capital projects spending for 2013, including nearly $4.3 million on technology, $3.3 million on building construction and $3.2 million on maintenance.

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