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BRAINERD SCHOOL BOARD: Revised budget drops deficit from $1.2M to $356K

The Brainerd School Board Finance Committee approved the first revision of the 2011-12 budget Monday afternoon. The revision to the budget dramatically changed the budget deficit from the earlier targeted $1.2 million to $356,201.

“We have two budget revisions during the year,” said Steve Lund, Brainerd director of business services. “This first budget revision concentrates on the staffing and students. The strength of this year’s enrollment is encouraging to our budget and we anticipate ending the year stronger than planned.”

Lund said that the district began the year with a K-12 enrollment projection of 6,328 students but the actual October fall student count showed a K-12 enrollment of 6,468 students, resulting in the adjustment of year-end average daily membership from 6,405 to 6,430

Staffing, the second major component Lund said, is on track to achieve  the targeted reduction in expenses by approximately $1.2 million through the reduction of positions and position replacement savings — hiring replacements at a lower salary.

According to Lund’s report, “We set course to reduce 26.06 full-time equivalents and achieved a net result of 30.55. The original reductions plan set course to achieve savings from the replacement of 13.8 FTE resignations or retirements. In the end, 21.9 FTE were replaced.” With more staffing reduction than they had planned — $125,000 less than what was budgeted for the year — the overall expenses for the district are lower than the preliminary budget.

“The Education Bill, which covers school years’ 2011-12 and 2012-13, calls for a $50 increase in the funding formula.” Lund’s report said, “raising it from $5,124 to $5,174 per pupil unit in 2011-12 and an additional $50 increase in the formula, raising it to $5,224 in 2012-13.

“This increase, combined with the slight adjustment in ADM (average daily membership) equates to net increase in general education revenue of approximately $500,000.”

Monday’s meeting also took a look at the forecast for 2012-13 school year, which Lund said has “many fewer unknowns than we had heading in to this current school year.” using the current revised budget and making adjustments for those revenue and expense changes that are currently known, the forecast predicts $69,517,671 revenue for the 2013 fiscal year with a $71,163,872 total expenditure, creating approximately $1.6 million budget deficit.

“We are not averse to deficit spending as we move forward,” said Lund. “But you have to plan deficit spending as if you are at some point going to correct it. In the future we are going to have a better opportunity in the budget.”

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5858 or by email at Follow her on Twitter @jessi_pierce