School district budget hearings to begin


HURON – The Huron School Board of Education will hold its 2019-20 budget hearing during its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening in the Instructional Planning Center at Huron Arena.
The general fund, which is the largest portion of the budget amounts to $20,960,000,  including staff salaries and wages, employee benefits, purchased services, supplies and materials, equipment and improvements.
This fund grew from $20,300,000 in the 2018-19 budget due to higher living costs.
“Really the only spending changes were the cost of living increase for the employees and we put about $65,000 to vocal, band, orchestra K-12 because of increased participation,” Business Manager Kelly Christopherson explained. “Our general fund budget is driven by the State Aid formula, which is driven by enrollment on count day, and that takes place on the last friday of September.”
The budget is based on a projected enrollment of 2,735 students, at a rate of $5,786 awarded per student. Another significant area where revenue is collected for the general fund is by property tax payers.
“We collect property taxes based on the rate the legislature sets. In Huron we would bring in about half of the amount we need, so they fill in that gap with state aid,” Christopherson clarified. “Richer areas that collect more in property taxes might not get very much State Aid, but will still get $5,786 per student. Places that don’t have much property value but do have a higher number of students would receive more State Aid and collect very little property taxes. That’s how they keep it fair for everyone.”
It was also noted that a 55 percent increase in property insurance, which amounts to an additional approximate $70,000 in the general fund. This increase is due to historic losses nationwide because of floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, wind and hail.
This year the capital outlay fund makes a total of $10,218,000, however $6.6M is from capital outlay certificates and is budgeted for the school facilities improvement projects as an important role in school safety.
“The $6.6M borrowed in capital outlay certificates was done within our current taxes, so we already have that in the bank,” Christopherson said. “The capital outlay fund is 100 percent based on property taxes. We budget to transfer $300,000 of that every year to support the general fund if needed, so we don’t have to opt out – an opt out is outside of the State Aid Formula, which raises taxes – we’re not doing that.”
The $6.6M is shown as an expenditure for the capital outlay fund, however it is already accounted for, which results in a total of all funds at $32,400,000.
All members of the public are encouraged to attend the hearing for any comments or questions before adoption of the budget is held at a later meeting. More information can also be found at www.huron.k12.sd.us.

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