State funding: The District is waiting for the General Assembly’s Joint Committee for Administrative Rules (J-CAR) to set the guidelines for the new calculation of adequacy formula to replace the old state funding scheme for schools. Until this is complete, the state will continue paying out from the old formula. Under this formula the state owes the District $2.904 million currently.
Audit: The external audit of district finances went well and there were no concerns from the auditor.
Transportation: With the District assumption of transportation services, we are conservatively set to save $640,000 this year or approximately $3,714 per day last year to this year actual costs for September. This figure would have been much higher if the District stayed with First Student and their projected rate increase of 7.5% over last year’s actual costs.
Tax levy: The District is reviewing the current tax levy, and it is expected to slightly decrease for the coming year. The decrease is the result of the District restructuring and refinancing to reduce the obligation on the debt. The levy on the Bond and Interest Fund cannot exceed the amount of the bond and interest held by the District by law so the refinancing of the debt legally necessitates a reduction of the levy. The District will continue to collect the maximum levy in funds where it is legally allowed such as the Education and Transportation Funds. See below for a further explanation of the District funds and levies.
Food Service: Sales of tray lunches are up 15% from last year for September and 14% for August. These increases also reflect a greater number of free and reduced lunches which provides more federal reimbursement to the District for food service. After consultation with the food service staff about adding a second window at the Snack Bar to improve efficiency and serve more students, it was decided to keep a single window and add a runner to fill orders to make the overall service process more efficient and to generate more revenue. The District also made changes to the federal commodities that are available to schools for lunches Under existing contracts between Sodexo and its vendors, last year food service was only able to use 40% of the federal commodities as other products had to be purchased under existing contracts. Under the District, food service can now use 100% of their allotted federal commodities which results in more margin on tray lunches. For more information on the federal commodities program and the foods included in it, check out the USDA website: (http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/storage/documents/parent-toolkit/partner-resource-pdfs/NANAcommodities.pdf)
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.