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BREAKING NEWS

BEA sees budget numbers improve

By Staff | Feb 21, 2011

You could call it ‘creative accounting,’ but the overall result made for improved budget numbers for the current year for the Blue Earth Area School District.

School finance officer Alan Wilhelmi presented a revised 2010-11 budget to the BEA board at its meeting last Monday.

Board members happily approved the new figures.

Wilhelmi says there are a variety of reasons why the revised budget looks good.

“The main reason is because we are shifting some expenditures to the next year,” Wilhelmi says. “The other is an increase in projected revenues, due to an increase in student enrollment.”

The two large projects being shifted to the 2011-12 budget are purchasing a new bus and new windows.

The bus was scheduled to be purchased this year, at a cost of $120,000. Now it will still be purchased in 2011, but since the school’s fiscal year ends in June, the purchase will be reflected in the next budget.

The same thing holds true for a large remodeling project, set for the elementary and middle schools. There was $80,000 earmarked for the project, which includes new windows.

Now, the work will be completed – and be paid for – in the next budget cycle.

“Moving these two means a $200,000 savings in this year’s budget,” Wilhelmi says.

There are other savings in various areas, but these were the largest two, he says.

The shift drops the expenditures in the general fund from $8.5 million to $8.3 million. Revenues are also shown increasing from $7.9 million to $8.5 million.

This means the school district’s balance in the general fund will actually be better at the end of June than originally thought.

“The general fund balance is now expected to be $4.1 million, instead of $3.5 million,” Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says. “That is very good news.”

However, Brandsoy is quick to point out that the $200,000 saved from moving the bus purchase and window remodeling to the next fiscal year, is still going to be spent later this year.

“I have told some people that I think we are acting like the state,” Brandsoy says. “We are shifting payments from one fiscal year to another. The money is still going to be spent.”

The other plus for the budget was an unexpected increase in student enrollment.

At the start of school last fall, enrollment was way up to 1,216 students.

Remarkably, enrollment as of Jan. 27 was up three more, to 1,219.

“This is very unusual,” Brandsoy says. “Almost every year our enrollment drops off during the year.”

Brandsoy calls the boost a very good thing, as state aid revenue is tied to the number of students.

“I am also pleased that our two largest classes are our kindergarten and first grade,” Brandsoy adds. “That is a good sign for the future.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, held in Frost, the school board:

• Received a proposed calendar for 2011-12. It shows school starting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and ending on June 1, with graduation on June 3.

Christmas vacation would be from Dec. 22 through Jan. 3.

• Accepted notice of intent to retire at the end of this school year from three teachers; Annette Ward (first grade, Winnebago), Colleen Perrizo (phys ed, Blue Earth and Winnebago), Lana Krause (kindergarten, Blue Earth).

Between the three, they have 89 years of teaching experience.