Public asked to comment on tentative school district budget | NevadaAppeal.com

Public asked to comment on tentative school district budget

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Members of the Carson City School Board of Trustees are urging the public to attend a hearing Wednesday and comment on the Carson City School District’s tentative 2005-06 budget.

“We try to do the meeting after work hours, so that the public can come,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. “We like to make sure people know this is a budget hearing, people are welcome to come in, teachers can drop in, parents can drop in, and they can all give their input.”

The meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. in the board room of the district’s administrative offices at 1402 W. King St.

The estimated general fund revenues for the 2005-06 fiscal year, which begins July 1, total $52.9 million, with some of that coming from motor vehicle and local taxes, the distributive school fund, school taxes and earnings on investments.

The general fund expenditures for the 2005-06 fiscal year are estimated at $48.5 million, and with transfers to other funds at $5.5 million, the total is brought to some $54 million. That gives a deficit, as of June 30, 2006, of $1.1 million.

Many revenue items that could help decrease the deficit still lay at the hands of the Legislature.

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According to Bob Anderson, the district’s finance director, the three primary issues at stake are state money for salary increases, state money for retirement credit for hard-to-fill positions and tax money from the property tax cap. Any of these could decrease the district’s projected deficit.

The sole factor that could increase the projected deficit is if the Legislature decides to drop the state’s hold-harmless funding, which allows school districts, like Carson City, to receive per-pupil funding based on the prior year’s enrollment numbers.

The increase in cost to the district would be about $400,000 bringing the total projected deficit to $1.5 million. Pierczynski said she is hopeful that the hold-harmless funding will continue.

The board has directed Anderson to balance revenues and expenditures. He said expenditures are high mostly because of the increased cost of health care, which cost $6 million a year.

Utilities and instructional supplies have also increased in cost.

Expenditures cannot be cut from these items, so the cuts will need to come from elsewhere, Anderson said.

“That’s going to be a really good question for next Wednesday,” he said. “The board is going to have to use their best judgments to determine if we have to cut any line-item expenditures before we know what the Legislature’s decisions are going to be.”

Many of those decisions are not made until late May or early June, he said, or even before the final budget is due to the Department of Taxation on June 8.

Because student enrollment is expected to continue to drop in the district, $1.5 million has been set apart for the 2006-07 school year. The district would also lose it’s hold-harmless funding then.

– Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

Voice your opinion

What: Carson City School District tentative budget hearing

When 5:15 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Board Room of the Administrative Offices, 1402 W. King St.

Information: Call the school district at 283-2000

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