Budget OK’d for Mondovi Schools for 2015-16; tax levy to see a 7 percent increase

 

by Beth Kraft

 

The School District of Mondovi will once again trim its expenditures this year to make up for another drop in its equalization aid. The district’s tax levy will also see a related increase this year due to the state aid loss.

Despite a more than $264,000 hit to its equalization aid for 2015-16, the district is still predicting a balanced budget of a little over $10.3 million this year. The budget was approved as presented at the district’s annual meeting, held Wednesday, Oct. 21, and the tax levy was set at just under $3.77 million, an increase of 7.22 percent over last year.

In her presentation of the 2015-16 budget, district bookkeeper Kristi Zarins pointed out that expenses are forecast to drop about $30,000 from 2014-15. Last year’s budget called for a spending reduction of nearly $60,000 from the previous year, again due in part to state aid losses.

Local taxes will account for just over $3 million of district revenues, an increase from $2.77 million last year.

The 2014-15 tax levy fell for the first time in nearly a decade, dropping 0.77 percent with a total levy of $3.5 million.

The district’s mill rate will rise to 10.21 this year, up from 9.78 in 2014-15, but Zarins said Mondovi’s mill rate is still one of the lowest out of the Cluster A districts, which also includes Altoona, Augusta, Eleva-Strum, Fall Creek, Gilmanton and Osseo-Fairchild. Cluster A’s average mill rate is 11.52, Zarins said.

Thanks to a streak of balanced budgets, Mondovi came out in the black by about $4,000 over the past two school years, helping its fund balance rise to $1.62 million to start the current year.

In other budget highlights, it was noted that the school’s food service fund is doing much better in recent years. Revenues topped expenses by about $10,000 last year alone.

Board members pointed to Act 10 stipulations, price changes and going to a closed campus policy as factors that have helped the food service fund stay out of the red. Federal regulations determine meal prices, school leaders clarified, noting a complicated formula is used to determine if and when price increases must be made.

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