Jul 242013

By Naomi Hatch
The Snowflake Unified School District Governing Board held a public hearing on the 2013-14 budget July 15. The board later approved the $14 million budget.
Business Manager Mark Ollerton gave a presentation on the budget, noting that as a result of the district’s declining enrollment there is a tuition loss from state funding, but it is offset by an increase in base support level.
“We made a lot of cuts under the assumption we weren’t going to get anything from the state,” said Ollerton, noting they had some classroom sizes that were large so an additional first grade teacher was hired.
The 2013-14 budget has a base revenue of $11,307,571.65 and an additional $3,165,492 for weighted students. The budget limits for maintenance and operations (M&O) is $12,651,313, an increase of three percent from the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.
Unrestricted capital is $1,040,946, a 24.6 percent decrease from last year. Ollerton said that soft capital funding will go away this year.
The Classroom Site Fund is set at $1,425,217, and is comprised of Proposition 301 funding that will go to the teaching staff. If the B level rating is maintained, teachers will receive performance pay.
Ollerton broke down the M&O budget as follows: regular education, $9,561,589; special education, $1,329,482; vocational education, $431,939; ELL (English Language Learners), $166,709; YTP (Youth Transition Program), $40,903; transportation, $1,001,869; and K-3 Reading, $118,822, which is up 41.2 percent. The district purchased three buses this year, according to Ollerton.
One problem the district faces is the loss of the paper mill, which caused an approximate loss of $3 million in assessed evaluation. Ollerton is working with Navajo County officials to get the tax rate resolved before August. “It’s a challenging time in this area,” he said.
“The good news is we’ve got a larger budget; the bad news is the tax burden continues to shift,” said Ollerton. “That means all of us that live in and love this area are going to have the price to pay.”
It is estimated the tax will increase 85 cents per $100,000 of assessed evaluation. Last year, property owners paid $5.72 per $100,000.
Following the hearing, the board unanimously approved the 2013-14 fiscal year expenditures.
In other business, board member Shea Flake volunteered to serve as a delegate to work on the 2014 political agenda with the Arizona School Boards Association. His appointment as a delegate was approved unanimously.