The district’s total budget includes the general fund, which amounts to approximately $137 million, food service, community service, building construction, debt service and a couple smaller funds.
About 81 percent of the general fund expenses go to wages and employee benefits and 12 percent goes to purchased services, such as utilities and transportation.
In 2017-18 the final budgeted expenditure total was approximately $169 million with the general fund expenditures budgeted at approximately $133 million.
Superintendent Michael Baumann expressed his satisfaction with the preliminary budget, especially taking into consideration the challenging state legislative session for E-12 school districts with many items vetoed. State aid through fiscal year 2019 ensures a 2 percent increase to the general education formula, but for most Minnesota schools the aid has not kept pace with inflationary increases and the rising cost of providing an first-rate education for all students.
The approved budget is consistent with the Board of Education’s requirement to maintain a fund balance of at least 5 percent of current year budgeted expenditures. The budget is also consistent with the district’s long-range financial plan, which forecasts out anticipated activities. Although highlighted as community needs within the long-range plan, staffing additions, long-term facility needs and additional safety and security needs are not included within the 2018-19 budget as additional resources are needed to support these long-range goals.
At the meeting, Executive Director of Business Services Andrew Sarnow announced that the district will be pursuing the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) Meritorious Budget Award next spring. The award is given to school districts that “understand the importance of presenting an accessible and accurate budget to build trust and clearly communicate with stakeholders,” according to the organization’s website.
District 194 community members are encouraged to review the 2018-19 preliminary budget book, which is available on the district’s website.