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Final Budget Workshop

The Plainview school board approved staffing reductions in its 2013-14 budget during a workshop, and displayed a $143,280,933 revenue budget with a 4.38 percent increase for the third and final budget workshop last week.

The school board is scheduled to meet next on April 5 to adopt the budget.

“We have cut almost $1 million dollars out of our budget in order to be below cap,” schools superintendent Lorna Lewis said. “Unfortunately when you have that magnitude of reductions, there has to be some personnel that is considered. Even though it’s painful, we’ve tried to maintain the classroom and have the least impact on core instruction.”

Last month, the district projected Level I reductions of $1,821,559 from the status quo budget of $145,008,373 which included: claims auditor from .75 full time equivalent (FTE) to .4 FTE, .2 FTE health and health coordinator stipend, 1.0 FTE physical education district wide, .5 FTE speech, .5 FTE teacher of deaf and hearing, .5 FTE music, .2 FTE reading (Wilson Program), .6 FTE nursing services, .5 FTE high school librarian, 1.5 FTE high school (based on decreased enrollment of 42), and equipment, supplies, energy codes, conference, travel and training.

During the budget workshop, the school board displayed Level II Reductions of $1,977,162 from Level I. These included: reduction of summer days from Guidance and PPS, 20 percent reduction to field trips, 1.6 FTE physical education (restructuring lunch time recreation program), Friday night recreation, floating nurse, elimination of kickline and combining some 7th and 8th grade teams, 1.0 FTE special education district wide and 0.5 FTE speech, 1.0 FTE AIS Middle School, 1.0 FTE custodian, 1.0 FTE clerical, 1.0 FTE administration, 5.0 FTE extended readiness (grade 1 to deliver program through 2.0 FTE reading), 5.0 unassigned aides, 1.0 FTE enrichment for all and 1.0 FTE elementary health.

With the tax cap levy limit at 3.09 percent, the district projects a removal of $1913,204 from the preliminary budget of $141,303,771.

The largest budget driver for 2013-14 is the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) with a projected 37.69 percent ($2,800,879) increase. Decreases are projected, including $185,670 of utilities (oil, gas, electric and water), $46,317 of textbooks and $94,430 of special education (non salary), and the total increase of budget drivers is projected at $6,016,974.

The district’s Employee Retirement System (ERS) has an employer contribution rate of 20.90 percent, which the school board displayed a rate of 16.30 percent in 2011-12 and 18.90 percent in 2012-13. Their TRS has an employer contribution rate estimated at 16.25 percent, and a 11.11 percent rate in 2011-12 and 11.84 percent in 2012-13.

The Real Property Tax was displayed at the school board’s budget workshop last week at $121,680,676, representing a 4.73 percent increase of $5,500,749.

Total state aid is projected at $14,551,726, which is a 4.3 percent increase from last year’s $13,950,614. The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GAP) decreased the district’s state aid by $1,984,804 for 2013-14, and by $2,120,489 last year. The district is projected to receive no MTA reimbursements, which it hasn’t received for the past two years.