UNION — The first draft of the Union County School District’s 2013-2014 operating budget is balanced without raising taxes despite increased expenditures.
District Finance Director Lynn Lawson presented the balanced budget of $26,128,725 — an increase of $79,830 over the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
“This plan is very tight and leaves very little room for error over the next year,” Lawson said at Monday’s board of trustees meeting.
Lawson said the budget assumes no millage increase, and the current millage rates are 119.9 for operations and 48.0 for debt service. He also said the last millage increase was 2.9 mills in FY 2005-2006, and the current total millage is actually 2.3 mills less than in FY 2000, when total millage was 170.2.
Budgeted funding is 77 percent state, 21 percent local, and 2 percent federal and miscellaneous.
“The net increase in state funds equals $173,377,” Lawson said. “This is used to comply with state-mandated teacher salary increases for years of experience. All non-teacher pay scale employee salaries will be frozen at current year rates.”
Lawson said the district is projecting increases in employer costs for state health insurance and retirement plans. He also said district-level supply budgets have been cut, and the budget has been adjusted for changes in service contracts and variable expenses such as energy and utilities.
Lawson mentioned there are still concerns about the federal Affordable Care Act mandates taking effect, which could potentially add significant costs to the district.
“We may be able to prevent some of these identified costs, but we have not been able to put a dollar figure on this yet,” he said.
Lawson said the budget meets all identified obligations and compliance targets.
“However, it leaves no funding available for significant operating changes, improvements, nor additions to current facilities, technology, and programs,” he said.
Following Monday’s meeting, Lawson said assuming the Legislature makes no major changes to the state funding in its final budget, the district will be prepared to present the budget for approval as soon as the June 10 school board meeting.