School budget tight but balanced — so far |

School budget tight but balanced — so far

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Next year’s school budget is balanced but it’s tight — too tight for some trustees.

“There’s no room for breathing,” said Bob Anderson, the school district’s director of financial services. “We’ll have to monitor things very closely and make sure we don’t misuse any money.”

Anderson presented tentative budget plans — where the $78 million in revenues matched the $78 million in expenditures, with $1 million in reserve — to the Carson City School Board during the Tuesday meeting

However, some board members are concerned the reserve, which is roughly enough to operate for 15 days, will not be enough in case of an emergency.

“I’m not in the mood to cut programs,” said trustee John McKenna. “I just don’t know if I’m comfortable spending everything we make.

“Do we tough it out and pray the Legislature gives us some money? My experience is they won’t.”

Board members asked for more time to consider the tentative budget and will discuss again the possibility of cutting programs at the April 23 meeting.

The final budget will be submitted May 15.

The bulk of the income is generated through a per-pupil fund distributed from the state based on the number of students enrolled.

For the 2002-2003 school year, the district will receive $4,545 per pupil, up $110 from this year. About 8,484 students are enrolled in Carson City schools.

Among other cost-saving measures, the budget includes a plan to increase the cost of school breakfasts by 10 cents and lunches by 25 cents.

Anderson said district officials will also work to reduce energy use especially during peak hours from 5 to 10 p.m.

“We’ll be more aware of what we’re doing in our facilities during those hours,” he said.

Under the current tentative budget, Carson City remains one of five districts throughout the state to not cut any programs.

“I feel good because we’re in a much better position than a lot of other school districts that have done a lot of program reduction and cost cutting,” Anderson said. “We haven’t had to do any of that.

“We’re pretty fortunate in that the local economy is pretty strong and our enrollment is staying steady.”