A budget proposal for the 2012-13 school year has the with a small surplus.
Zumwalt's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Orr presented a draft of the budget for the upcoming school year during a Monday meeting of the board. Revenue projections, combined with expense projections, for the new year have the district operating with a balanced budget and actually producing a surplus. The surplus, however, is minimal. Orr's report has the surplus at $44,000, attributing the money to projected increases in expenses.
While slim, the surplus margin beats the alternative of losing money—something Zumwalt is all too familiar with. The current fiscal year, set to end on the last day of June, found close to $3 million. The 2010-11 school year also had the district .
The preliminary budget for 2012-13 has expenses rising by $1.4 million compared to the previous year. Orr said the increase is due, in large part, to employee benefits. Insurance premiums are set to rise, impacting current teachers and a number of retired teachers. The retired teachers, however, saved the district $2.5 million by retiring, which helps offset the increase in premiums.
The budget also projects supplies such as food and fuel to rise with inflation.
Revenue is also projected to be down for the 2012-13 year. Projects have the district receiving $850,000 less next year. The reasons for the decrease are many—federal stimulus money is going away, property taxes are expected to go down and other one-time payments won't be available. The largest reduction is related to the TIF.
Back in 2010, the city of St. Peters ended a like Fort Zumwalt. Fort Zumwalt expects to receive two payments from St. Peters in 2011-12, but just one for the next year.
Superintendent Bernard DuBray pointed out that when he joined the district in 1982, the total budget was $17 million. The 2012-13 proposal is almost $200 million.
Orr said the district is in a stable financial position—for now. State funding is always in flux and property taxes may not recover to pre-recession rates any time soon. Orr said the downward trend of property values will soon cause the district to reach its maximum authorized operating levy. Without a voter-approved tax increase, the district will lose tax revenue if the property values don't stabilize.
The budget presented Monday is not final. Orr said he had a few minor changes to make and things to double check. The board is set to have a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 25, to approve the budget and other end-of-the-year items.