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BEA board hears good budget news

General Fund balance improves by $710,000

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 14, 2021

Financial Services Coordinator Alan Wilhelmi presented the revised 2020-2021 budget to the Blue Earth Area School Board at their meeting on Monday, March 8.

Wilhelmi reported the revised budget ended up really close to projections in spite of all of the changes caused by the pandemic.

“We had an increase in our General Fund balance of $710,000,” Wilhelmi commented. “Federal funds we received to help with COVID-19 expenses certainly helped us.”

Other factors which helped the school’s financial position included an increase in enrollment, spending freezes in different department budgets and budget reductions made last spring, Wilhelmi cited.

The revised budget was approved by board members.

BEA superintendent Mandy Fletcher updated the board on legislative progress concerning school funding.

“We do not know yet what the school funding will be for next year,” Fletcher told board members. “The state is predicting a possible $1.6 billion surplus which is quite different from what was originally expected. We normally look for a two percent increase in the spending formula for schools so we are waiting to see what happens.”

She also gave the results of a state-wide survey of school districts.

“The question was how the pandemic was affecting school budgets for next year,” Fletcher said. “The answers revealed 65 percent of the school districts in the state plan to make budget cuts and reductions. BEA is not in that position. As noted earlier, our enrollment has remained stable and even increased slightly. We have been cautious in our spending. The planning we have done to keep our staff and students safe has helped retain and attract students. All of these things have been factors in helping to keep our enrollment steady.”