Slater School board members held a budget workshop on Monday, Feb. 1, taking the opportunity to better understand the district's numbers.
"They (board members) wanted a more detailed explanation of where monies come in and where they go out," explained Slater Superintendent John McEachern, who used a computerized SMART board to explain the district's accounting program in detail.
The district budget for the 2009-2010 school year includes $3,682,391.13 in revenues and $3,987,923.82 in expenditures for a $305,532.69 deficit.
McEachern said that when he did the budget he did not include approximately $109,000 of "formula monies" they expect to be receiving from the state. Although not finalized by the legislature, he said it does look like the state will be fully funding the school, which would add the money into the district's final revenue.
He also told the board that capital expenses in the budget, which included a $60,000 bus, could also be saved.
"We talked about buying a bus, but most likely we are not going to need a new bus this year," he said. In addition to that, he said they hoped to save more money out of the budgeted capital account.
"Because of the age of our schools, we have to have money to set aside to purchase something new if needed," he said, adding they will be replacing the library air conditioner later this spring.
As written, this year's budget would give the district an unrestricted reserve balance of 13.3 percent. Adding in the additional state money, along with savings in the capital account, would bring the reserve up to approximately 17 percent, down just 0.6 percent from the previous year.
As with other school districts in the state, Slater's assessed valuation was down last year from $18.1 million to $17.6 million, lowering the district's revenues considerably.
Throughout the workshop, board members asked questions and discussed ways to keep costs down for the rest of the school year and following years.
Among the ideas was tightening utility costs. Other cost-cutting measures McEachern has already taken is to send just one bus to away basketball games, cutting those costs in half.
The board is expected to meet again in the next few weeks to further discuss the budget.
"This is just something we as a board need to do throughout the year," McEachern explained, in order to address concerns and keep costs down.
After the meeting, the board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel issues. All the board members were present, with the exception of Joey Gochenour, who is on military deployment in Iraq.