Tri-Center joined Hamburg and Farragut in receiving good news from the School Budget Review Committee earlier this week. The Daily NonPareil reports the Tri-Center Community School District – which serves Neola, Minden, Persia, Beebeetown — approached the state agency Wednesday afternoon to request a “modified supplemental amount,” the legal authority to spend dollars already spent to wipe the slate clean as the district tackles overspending.
The SBRC approved adding $480,244 in additional spending authority, as well as accepting Tri-Center’s corrective action plan, which projects a stable certified enrollment for the school district of 647 students. In exchange, the SBRC ordered Tri-Center to not spend more than $6.23 million from its general fund for fiscal year 2015 and to not spend any miscellaneous income until it’s received.
Tri-Center is required to submit monthly reports to its board showing the financial position of the district in relation to its budget control plan and spending authority, which will also be made available to state officials. Tri-Center Superintendent Tony Weers said significant reductions will still need to be made to spending. An estimated $600,000 in cuts are expected to be needed to reach the spending limits imposed by the state.
After hearing cases from Hamburg and Farragut, the SBRC approved budget authority supplement of $148,951 for Hamburg and $803,010 for Farragut as part of their corrective action plans. General budget spending for Hamburg for fiscal year 2015 will be limited to $2.5 million, while such spending for Farragut is capped at $2 million. Those figures don’t include allowable special education expenditures.
Similar to Tri-Center and other districts, the two Fremont County districts also will submit monthly reports to their boards and state officials. The districts must submit a plan to the SBRC by late next month to outline how to configure buildings to maximize potential cost savings with the least amount of facility upgrades.
In all three cases, the SBRC granted back budget authority, the legal right to spend money the districts have. None of the districts are receiving additional funding from the state, and none of the districts are insolvent. State law is designed to guarantee school districts across the state spend about the same amount of money per student. Tri-Center, Hamburg and Farragut all spent more than authorized for their general funds, which pays teacher salaries and other operational expenses.
While Tri-Center has sufficient enrollment to trim expenses to stay under the spending cap, the situation is different for Hamburg and Farragut. Both are small districts under the enrollment threshold widely considered sustainable.