West Fargo School Board: Budget will raise general fund balance
The West Fargo School District expects to put a few more bucks in the bank over the next year. The School Board on Monday approved a 2003-04 budget that will increase the general fund balance to $3.14 million, about $150,000 more than the current...
The West Fargo School District expects to put a few more bucks in the bank over the next year.
The School Board on Monday approved a 2003-04 budget that will increase the general fund balance to $3.14 million, about $150,000 more than the current amount.
The budget calls for general fund spending of $34.2 million in 2003-04, an increase of 8 percent from 2002-03. Salaries and benefits account for much of the increase.
The budget also calls for revenue in 2003-04 of $34.7 million, an increase of 6 percent from 2002-03. West Fargo's growing tax base means the city will collect more in local property taxes. And because enrollment is expected to grow by 108 students, the district will collect more state aid.
District officials said increasing the general fund balance is a priority.
"We need to see it grow over the next few years," said board member Tom Gentzkow.
The general fund covers most of the district's regular, ongoing expenses, which are spread throughout the school year.
Much of the district's revenue comes in February when it collects property taxes. Increasing the balance gives the district a bigger cushion to pay bills in the fall.
The district wants to increase the general fund balance to 10 percent of general fund expenses.
The balance on June 30 was 9.83 percent of expenses in the 2002-03 school year.
But because expenses are rising, the projected balance on June 30, 2004, will be 9.17 percent of estimated expenses in the 2003-04 school year.
Even with the projected $150,000 growth in balance, "We're moving backward on the percentage," said Superintendent Chuck Cheney.
However, Mark Lemer, the district's business manager, said he expects the district will underspend its budget and that the 2003-04 year-end balance will exceed $3.2 million.
"When all this shakes out, I hope we'll above that number," he said.
Board member Karen Nitzkorski said she's encouraged to see the balance nearing 10 percent.
"We're getting close to double digits. We're making progess," she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530