Wednesday, September 06, 2017

TOP STORY >> Budget set for district at $36.4M

Leader senior staff writer

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski School Board on Tuesday evening approved the $36,389,480 preliminary 2017-18 budget, as recommended by Superintendent Bryan Duffie.

The board also heard a recommendation for a new middle school but took no action.

Based on estimated revenues of $40,391,832, the budget would leave a carryover of about $4 million for the next school year.

The approved budget is only two pages long, plus a pie chart, but district treasurer Tonya Weaver will plug all the line items until there is about a 250-page electronic document due to the state by Sept. 30, Duffie said.

The lion’s share of the budget would be $20,695,280 for salaries and benefits.

Debt-service payments on bonds financing the new high school and elementary and improvements will be $3.83 million.

The increased bond payments and step increases in teacher pay will be the only major differences from last year, Duffie said.

Based on the third-quarter enrollment of 3,865 students last school year and the foundation funding of $4,264.50 per student, state foundation funding to the district will be $16,482,030 this year.

Instead of spending about $19 million to renovate Jacksonville Middle School, the board should consider building a new middle school for about $23 million, according to former state Transportation and Facilities Director Charles Stein, now a consultant.

To get state matching funds, a new middle school should be included in the 2019-21 long-range facilities plan, Stein said, and the second new elementary school would be moved back to the 2021-23 long-range plan.

The state recommends that if a remodel costs more that 65 percent the cost of new construction, new construction is the better option.

In this case, a new middle school is projected to cost 81 percent the cost of a new school.

The board will discuss the possibility at a Sept. 26 training.