Sweetwater One School Board Hears Preliminary Budget Numbers

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The Sweetwater 1 School Board heard preliminary budget numbers for the 2019-20 school year during its regular meeting Monday.

ROCK SPRINGS — While Sweetwater County School District #1 will head into the next fiscal year on budget, Chief Financial Officer Scot Duncan says student enrollment numbers are likely to drop the next year.

Duncan, along with district accountant Gino Harvey, presented a preliminary budget to the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting last night.

While the junior high and high school are expected to be Filled to capacity, Duncan said District projections show a decrease in student enrollment on the elementary level.

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“Student enrollment is the biggest driver on how the state funds districts,” Duncan said. “We’re expecting a decrease in our average daily membership (ADM) next year.”

Harvey told the board that the ADM is projected to be down about 134 students during the next fiscal year. Last year the district received roughly $5,545 dollars per student. Harvey said the district is projecting that amount will drop $5,411 per student in the 2019-20 school year.

She also said that the district will need a little more than $3.1M to balance the budget. The district currently has $11.4M cash- on-hand.

Duncan said the district is projecting a cost savings on insurance next year. While the insurance premiums continued to rise, he said the number of people actually taking insurance from the district has dropped which is created savings.

The total estimated foundation guarantee is $82.6M, while total estimated available resources is projected to be $94.5, down about $855,000 dollars from last year. Other budget changes include a decrease in spending for exceptional programs, summer school/extended day programs due to the elimination of K-8 summer school, and an increase in the office of principal services “due to salary increases and new contracts,” said Duncan.

Following the presentation from Duncan and Harvey, the board voted unanimously to approved the preliminary budget.

Other Board Business

Later in the meetings of board voted unanimously to approve the districts negotiated agreement contract for 2019-20. This is the contract that locks in teachers’ salaries and bonuses for the upcoming school year.

Sweetwater Education Association President Mark Chollack reported to the board that 80% of the association voted on the negotiated agreement, with over 93% voting in favor.

“A lot of things fell in our favor this year,” Chollack said. He pointed out the increase in base salaries for new teachers, raises and bonuses that were approved for teachers this year.

Board chairperson Carol Jelaco also reported that the board will be conducting a Superintendent evaluation in about a month, and that the board will be doing an evaluation of itself in the upcoming months.