Badger district projects deficit, superintendent has no immediate concerns

At its February 12, 2018 meeting, the Badger Board received a revised projected budget for the 2018 fiscal year, one seeing the budget’s deficit cut down to $75,603 from the initial projection of $143,277 in June 2017. Several factors went into this change, including the increase in the rebate the district received from Ottertail Power Company for its LED Conversion Project.
Now, the district faces a another projected budget deficit for the 2018-19 fiscal year, but a larger one, amounting to $204,012, based on an enrollment projection of 227 students.
At the June 13 meeting, board member Curt Hauger asked Superintendent Tom Jerome at what point he feels concerned about this deficit. Jerome said he didn’t feel great about the projected deficit, but didn’t express a high level of concern at this time.
“Obviously it’s not a trend we want to continue and continue, but I’m not concerned,” Jerome said. “I don’t stand in front of you and feel great about the fact I’m projecting a budget deficit that’s 200,000 dollars, but if we were to remove some of our improvements that would shrink that number. But we don’t have to that at this point.”
He added how if the district enrollment increases some that he feels “okay” with the district’s position.
The district’s projected revenue, coming mainly from student enrollment, totals $3,271,354. The district’s projected 227 enrollment is a decline of four students compared to enrollment figures given in May 2018. He added that revenue projections do usually come in low from the state.
Also, the district is receiving approximately $60,000 less in miscellaneous local revenue compared to last year, a product, Jerome said, primarily of the district receiving Ottertail Power Company’s rebate last fiscal year for that LED lighting project.
The district’s projected expenditures total $3,475,366. Expenditures have increased by about $43,000 over last year.
Improvements the district is moving on beginning this summer also are impacting the district’s bottom line. Some of these summer improvements include: an air ventilation/circulation system in the high school special education room, a new bus (which the district plans to finance), and updated teacher computing devices, such as laptops and I-pads, to keep up with the software of their SMART Boards and the elementary students’ I-pad software.
The district also is purchasing new laptops for its students entering sixth grade, and new performing robes for its choir students. The music club is contributing half the cost for these robes. Speaking of improvements, the district will also have new cafeteria tables prior to the next school year, as the current ones, Jerome said, are in “tough shape.”
At district buildings and grounds department manager Jarod Magnusson’s request, the district also has earmarked funds for the purchases of some new equipment, including a machine for better and more thorough and efficient bathroom cleaning, and a device for shampooing carpets.
Jerome commented that all these purchases drive up the district’s expenditures, but added, “Those are some sound investments, I believe, for our employees and for our district.”

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