The 2014 Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corp. advertised budget was $43 million. However, Charlie Blake, SDCSC financial operations director, estimated it will be “3-5 percent smaller than what the state approved in 2013,” which was $39.2 million.
The assessed value for 2013 was $1 billion. However, for 2014, the estimate is $971.7 million, a decrease of over $45 million. “The decreasing assessed values reduce our budget as we are near, if not slightly over, the property tax cap in most of our funds,” he revealed.
The 2013 SDCSC tax rate for Dearborn County was $1.41 per $100 of assessed valuation, and for Ripley County, it was $1.32 per $100 of assessed valuation. The estimated rate for next year is slightly lower – Dearborn, $1.38, and Ripley, $1.30.
The director noted, “There were no major surprises in the budget. We ask for what we would like to have and then adjust it to what the state gives us and try to make do with it.”
For the General Fund, “we asked for more in 2014 ($26 million) than 2013 ($25.8 million) in case our enrollment grows.” Last year, the state only approved $23.6 million. This fund “is not funded by property taxes anymore, only by state support per student,” he said.
“For the Debt Service Fund, we asked for what we needed to pay our debts ($6.8 million).” In 2013, they received $3,596 less than what was requested.
For the Pension, $1.1 million was requested and for Transportation, $3.4 million. Last year, the state approved the entire requested amount for these two funds.
For Capital Projects, “we asked for exactly the same amount ($4.6 million) in 2013 and 2014. We were reduced significantly in 2013 and expect the same or worse in 2014.
“We asked for slightly less ($990,000) in 2014 (for Bus Replacement) as we are planning on replacing some of the smaller buses this coming year.” Last year, this fund was cut by $865,000.
“The challenges in preparing any school’s budget is that the assessed values of your corporation boundaries are not set before you begin, and you do not know how many kids you will have in the rooms when school starts. So you have to estimate/guess on most items,” Blake pointed out.
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.