District 196 final budget slightly higher than predicted

Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan maintains healthy fund balance

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School Board on Jan. 7 approved a $382.2 million budget for 2012-2013, which is nearly $40 million higher than expected.

District 196’s final general fund budget is $306 million, which is 79.89 percent of the total budget. This fund accounts for money not allocated for specific purposes, such as food service.

Of the district’s general fund budget, 70 percent goes into the classroom.

The general fund balance is $41.3 million, which is $1.4 million (3.59 percent) above projections. The fund balance is used to cover unforeseen costs such as delays in state aid payments. The current balance is 13.4 percent of the general fund budget, which is above the district’s 8 percent goal.

Jeff Solomon, finance director for District 196, credits the slightly higher budget to cost savings acquired throughout the year and the state’s efforts to reinstate K-12 funding.

District 196’s prudence paid off the most when it saved $2 million in energy costs this year.

The school district was able to further boost its budget after it received additional state aid.

The state gave the district an extra $50 per pupil 2011-2012 and another $50 per pupil in 2012-13.

This amounts to $1.5 million each year in additional revenue.

District 196 also received $2.96 million in compensatory funding this school year.

Legislators passed the one-time money for 20 districts with the largest enrollment aside from Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

District 196 was granted the largest sum of this money.

In addition to the boost in per pupil funding, the district received $1.63 million in literacy aid for 2012-13. The aid is based on literacy achievement of third- and fourth-graders.

The additional state aid enabled the district to avoid seeking a new operating levy referendum.

District 196 relies heavily on state aid: 74.88 percent of its revenue comes from state aid, while 18.49 percent is funded by property taxes. The remaining 6.63 percent is funded by federal aid and other sources such as fees.