School faces challenges in budget plans

District facing higher expenses with less money

The Grand Canyon School District will have to find or cut about $53,000 to balance the budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

School Business Manager Lee Metheny provided the assessment at this month's School Board meeting.

The total package is projected to be $3.36 million. The draft assumes that teachers will receive a lump sum payment of $736 again this year in lieu of a raise in their base salaries, a total expenditure of $43,000.

"We'll have to make a decision to rescind it or make it permanent," Metheny said.

There was some good news - the district expects more than twice what it gets for CAVIAT, at least $40,000, up from the $18,000 they received this year. They will also see some extra Title 1 money as well as reinstated Forest Fees for another $48,000.

Salary costs, which, at $2.58 million account for the district's largest expense, are expected to increase about almost $67,000. They expect to pay about $15,000 more for a new superintendent, who will need retirement and medical benefits. Also, $92,000 in Title 1 funding went away this year. The district will keep one of the two positions it funded at a cost of about $50,000.

"If we weren't losing our $92,000 it would be a piece of cake but $92,000 in our budget is a pretty significant amount," Metheny said.

The district is also seeing less money for other needs. Soft capital, which buys books, classroom materials and electronics, is projected to be about $98,000. Metheny said that they've spent over $104,000 this year with some left.

"$98,000 is a meager amount," said Metheny. "In a way, it sounds like a lot of money until you look at what we have to use it for."

They are expecting $280,000 in unrestricted capital, which pays for repairing buildings and equipment, funds the copier lease and is paying for the new school bus. Metheny said it's down about $100,000-$150,000 from previous years.

"The amounts in here are based on what kind of assumption for what we're going to get out of the state this coming year?" Wahler asked.

Metheny said the figures are basically flat, though they expect Prop 301 money to go down. That money, which is raised through a sales tax, goes to teachers as pay, incentive bonuses and training.

Metheny said that because the district has fewer than 600 students, it wasn't subject to some cuts dealt to larger districts.

A budget work session is set for Thursday, April 9, at 5 p.m. at the school library.


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