JCSD1 Explains How Funds Are Spent, What May Be Cut

Rich Hall, JCSD1 Board President.

At their public meeting Monday night, the Johnson County School District, in addition to gathering public opinion and input on possible cuts that may be coming due to reduced funding from the state, explained where the district's funds are spent and why, and where the expected cuts they will need to make could come from.

District Business Manager Eileen Bentley explained that the district receives their funding through the General Fund, or money from the Legislature; Special Revenues from grants, BOCHES funding and major maintenance money; Enterprise Funds such as food services and teacherages, which are accommodations provided to teachers by the district; and Agency Funds from student activities and the Rec District.

Bentley said for Fiscal Year 2017, which ends June 30th, the district's budget is roughly $20.5 million, with about 92% of the budget as “fixed costs,” such as salaries, benefits, heat, lights and other necessary expenses. The other 8% of the budget is considered “discretionary funds,” but consist of textbooks, supplies, transportation, technology and travel, which could be considered more like fixed costs.
Some wiggle room exists for cuts in all areas, but she said the budget is “very tight.”

According to the presentation, the district has been working for a number of years to bring expenditures down in the district from $2.9 million in 2014 to $2.4 million in 2017.

For the coming fiscal year, the district has identified about $264,000 in savings already through the retirement of Associate Superintendent Dr. Jeanie Iberlin which will save nearly $164,000 in salary and benefits; coupled with a reduction in the Information Technology budget of $55,000 and in Building Operations of about $45,000 but more will likely need to be cut.

Changes the district is looking at to save money include not filling positions as they become vacant; increased faculty workload; changes to operating budgets; and possible decreases in salaries and benefits among others.

School Board President Rich Hall said after the meeting that he felt those attending had a better understanding of what the district was facing after the meeting's presentation.

The district took no action but will take the comments and opinions from those attending the meeting to consider when they begin making budget cuts later this year.

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