Florence adopts school budget

Spending plan totals $7.6 million with projected deficit of nearly $1 million

FLORENCE, Wis. — The Florence County School Board gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a proposed $7.6 million budget for 2018-19.

The proposed budget shows total revenues of $6,587,484 and total expenditures of $7,574,995, for a $987,511 deficit.

Most revenue figures are current but federal amounts could change, District Administrator Ben Niehaus explained at the special meeting. School officials also are looking at several grants to help offset costs.

Board member Jim Gehlhoff pointed out the district has projected large budget deficits in the past only to have district expenditures come in lower than estimated by the end of the year.

The district faces declining enrollment each year, plus loses students to open enrollment. The district will receive $307 more per student with the new state budget. The district also added para-professionals in the special education department.

The district has a fund balance of $3,181,002.

The final budget will be approved at the next meeting.

In other business, the board:

— Approved moving the 2018 graduation ceremony from Sunday, May 27, to Friday, May 25. One board member suggested they wait until the next school year to make the change, as it’s already on the current calendar. A request was made last year to switch to Friday and it was forgotten, others pointed out. The class has 16 students.

— Learned the district has 20 new students and 14 full-time equivalent, or FTEs. The district has 460 total FTEs it can count for enrollment.

— Agreed to spend about $2,800 for Building Citizenship, Civics and Economics textbooks for the junior high grades. Niehaus said the current textbooks don’t cover areas needed for state requirements. The money will come from the capital projects fund.

— Will look for other ways to finance a new elementary school sign, as the projected $12,000 cost was not in the budget.

— Approved the second bid packet for the building project. So far, the project is $62,000 under budget, Niehaus reported.

Marguerite Lanthier’s email address is mlanthier@ironmountaindailynews.com.