Catlin schools chief sees deficit
CATLIN — School Superintendent Gary Lewis says he expects the 2012-13 budget to include more than $700,000 in deficit spending.
Catlin school board members are expected to unveil their budget for the upcoming school year in August, and to formally approve it in September.
Lewis said that the state is expected to pay the district only 20 general state aid payments in the upcoming fiscal year instead of 22 — a loss of about $200,000. He also said that revenue from local property taxes are expected to stay the same next year.
Overall, the preliminary budget includes about $4.2 million in revenues and $5.3 million in expenses. Lewis said those numbers may change in the next few weeks, but he does not expect major changes.
Lewis said that he anticipates a $700,000 deficit in the education fund alone, which would reduce the reserves in that fund to about $200,000.
The budget also includes about $400,000 in expenses related to some building renovation projects. Lewis said the money for the projects was received in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and most of the work will be paid out the 2012-13 budget, which makes the district's finances look worse than they actually are.
Still, Lewis said he expected to watch spending very closely again next year.
"We don't want these deficits to affect the students' education," he said.
For example, the preliminary budget includes no salary increases.
The one-year deal between the district and about 70 members of the Catlin Education Association expired on June 30. Lewis said that representatives from the two groups would meet on July 23 to begin negotiations for a new contract, and he hopes to see the two groups come up with a multi-year deal this summer.
In other business, Lewis said the summer renovation projects around the district buildings are going well, and are on schedule.
The installation of the new boiler in the gymnasium building is nearly done, as is the replacement of the roof on that building.
Catlin High School still uses the original boiler from the 1920s for heat, and steam from the high school boiler is piped to the nearby gymnasium building to heat it.
The gymnasium building is receiving a new roof, a separate steam boiler for the gymnasium, rooftop heating and air-conditioning units for the band room and offices, and some electrical upgrades. In addition, the gymnasium floor will be sanded and repainted starting in August, and the interior of the building will be repainted.