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Park Rapids School Board approves preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017-18

At last week's Park Rapids Area School Board meeting, Business Manager Carol Hutchinson presented the board with enrollment numbers and the factors which altered the budget throughout the 2016-17 school year.

For the 2015-2016 school year, enrollment held steady throughout the year beginning the year with 1,505 students in K-12 and ending the year with 1,498 enrolled students.

"I want to bring your attention to the senior class. We took that into account when we did our projection of enrollment for 2016-17

Hutchinson explained that enrollment numbers were significantly higher for the 2016-17 school year. In September, enrollment for grades K-12 was 1,550 and in May enrollment totalled 1,528.

"We got very unexpected news with the stronger enrollment, which improved our financial condition," she said.

"With the increased enrollment we got some other good news this year. We got $300,000 unexpectedly from tax forfeited land timber sales. No way a person could budget for that," she added. "There were so many factors that softened our projected forecast for the year."

Hutchinson explained that the deferred maintenance fund was closed and funds were transferred into the long term facility revenue.

"So the general fund unreserved fund balance that we are projecting is $530,680.56," she said, adding that there are several other things she wanted the board to be aware of. "The capital fund balance is something I have deliberately been watching and trying to increase, and the same is true for the long term facility maintenance."

According to Hutchinson, there will be an expensive roofing project needing completion in the not too distant future. She said she has been trying to build those balances because both of those accounts can be used to fund facility expenditures.

She added that the general fund in total went from $6,794,356.81 to $7,378,043.45 for an increase of $583,686.64.

The board approved the revised budget for fiscal year 2016-17 with general fund revenue at $18,240,843 and a general fund expense of $17,657,156, with total revenues of $26,702,833 and expenditures of $22,386,709.

The board also approved the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017-18 with general fund revenue of $18,596,520 and general fund expense of $18,863,627, with total revenues of $23,075,897 and expenditures of $23,314,337.

In other business the Park Rapids Area School Board did the following:

• Approved out of state travel for Jeff Johnson, high school principal, to attend the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America training in Atlanta, GA from July 23 to July 27, which will be funded by Hubbard In Prevention (HIP.)

• Authorized families' access to supplemental accident insurance with K-12 Student Accident Insurance.

• Approved purchase of service agreements with PAWN Special Education, Stellher Human Services for Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services Interventionist, Stellher Human Services for Children's Therapeutic Services Support in Individual Education Plans and Stellher Human Services for School Lined Mental Health Services.

• Approved new hires Cholice Koeller for Elementary .5 FTE Title 1 teacher and Megan Helms as an elementary school teacher.

• Approved the first reading of the employee handbook, elementary school handbook, middle school handbook, high school handbook, activities handbook, coaches manual, technology implementation handbook and Century Adventures handbook all for the 2017-18 school year.

• Approved the contract for the Special Education Director for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

The next regular school board meeting will be at the Frank White Education Center Community Room on Monday, July 10 at 6 p.m.