District is cautious on spending

The budget plan for next year will likely be to maintain the status quo, Superintendent Richard Stokes told the Carson City School Board during its meeting Tuesday evening.

“We still have to watch what’s going on. We have to be responsible and conservative in how we’re using our reserves,” Stokes said. “At the same time, we have some tremendously exciting things we want to accomplish.”

He said the district will build the 2015 budget on the assumption that funding from the state will increase but not enough to fully balance the budget at its current operations and personnel.

A.J. Fueling, who recently replaced Anthony Turley as the finance director for the Carson City School District, said he projects revenues to increase by $1.45 million in 2015 and expenses to go up about $1.05 million, if nothing changes.

However, he said, the school district will still be operating in the red.

“The reality is your revenues are still less than your expenses, which will put you in a deficit situation,” Fueling said. “If the ship remains what it is sailing into next year, it’s a $500,000 deficit essentially.”

As a result, he said, the district will likely dip into its reserves, a trend continuing from the past five years.

Feuling said the $6.6 million ending-fund balance is approaching its 8.2 percent of the general fund, which is the recommended ratio.

“This will just get us that much closer,” he said.

Stokes said the district’s $57.39 million in expenditures for 2015 were based on feedback from the community collected during a series of community meetings held during the budget process last year.

“It was a very public process we used to try to make considerable changes,” he said.

The tentative budget is due to the Department of Taxation by April 15, and the final budget must be finalized at the May 21 hearing.

Stokes said he hoped to get direction from the school board on ideas for how to balance future budgets, including considerations for possible expenses, such as replacing school buses or adding back elementary school counselors who were cut last year.

“That long-term plan is where we may have to make some adjustments to how we do things to make other things happen,” he said.


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