A puzzle is what Superintendent Randal E. Bagby said he will be presenting to the Lansing USD 469 Board of Education at their annual budget hearing next Monday. The puzzle he referred to is the budget, itself.
During the July meeting, he described to the board how the budgeting process has changed since the recession caused a decrease in state revenues. Prior to the recession, he said that the district did not draw from its contingency reserve fund. This year, however, he said he will probably be recommending the district transfer from the contingency reserve to the general fund.
“It’s kind of a puzzle,” Dr. Bagby told the board. “This is the first year of my life where we’re making transfers from those funds back to the general fund. So it’s a different puzzle.”
According to the superintendent, the district has the funds to draw upon, because the board has spent years building up cash balances in case of emergencies.
“If things got really bad, and we got no money from the state, we could still pay our bills for the month,” he said.
One part of the budget puzzle is trying to predict the number of students who will enroll in the district. This year, the state will pay the district $3,780 per pupil, which is $232 less than last year. In previous years, Dr. Bagby said he provided a low estimate for the number of students, in case there were fewer than expected. These days, he said he estimates high to obtain as much money as possible from the state for student education.
Another part of the budget puzzle, Dr. Bagby said, is predicting what the value of property in the district will be in order to calculate the mill levy. Next Monday, he will probably recommend a mill levy of 51.7, which is slightly higher than last year but a little less than two years ago. This is the number used to calculate the amount owed to the schools on property tax bills.
Dr. Bagby provided a preview of the budget during the July board meeting. He will present his final recommendations to the Lansing Board of Education during next week’s budget hearing. The hearing will take place during the regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8., at the District Office, 401 S. 2nd St.