Online learning option may buffer per-pupil funding loss
Lakeville School Board members unanimously approved the 2013-14 budget that projects declining enrollment of about 175 students.
General fund revenues are anticipated to total $102 million and expenditures are projected at $104 million in 2013-14, according to District Business Manager Randy Anderson.
In addition to recent cuts of $3.5 million from the budget, the district is planning to help cover the deficit with a planned general fund spend down of $1.7 million, he said.
The district’s projected enrollment for 2013-14 equates to a loss of about $1 million in state revenue, which is projected at $81.6 million.
To help increase enrollment and provide options for students, the district will this fall become the state’s first metro district to offer an all-online learning option, “Link12.”
Superintendent Lisa Snyder is projecting about 150 students will join the online option to help offset the student enrollment decline.
Minnesota’s legislative session ended with a 1.5 percent increase in the state’s per pupil funding formula, an increase from $5,224 to $5,302.
Anderson noted the district will also retain about $1.03 million received from the state in integration revenue, due, in part, to Lakeville School Board Member Bob Erickson’s testimony and involvement at the Capitol last session.
Next year, District 194 will also begin receiving $604,000 in a new levy to fund other post employment benefits.
The district’s largest expenditure is salaries and benefits, which are anticipated to total $84.8 million in the 2013-14 budget.
That amount reflects retirements, raises, scheduled step increases and annual workers compensation insurance paid annually, but does not include contract settlement increases that may occur.
e district’s food service revenues have declined. Anderson said the drop is due to federal mandates regulating the type of food that is served.
“The healthy initiative has become an impact the first year,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping in the future, as students become more familiar with the program and as they work the bugs of the program out to accommodate those types of issues, we will see students come back to our lunch program.”
A federal mandate also required the district to increase the cost of meals by 5 cents in 2013-14.
With the increase, the food service budget anticipates income of $5.1 million, with 77 percent of it coming from meal sales.
A stakeholder survey the district recently conducted reflected some dissatisfaction with the food served, said Jason Molesky, the district’s director of program evaluation.
He said Gayle Smalley-Rader, the district’s student nutrition supervisor, has developed a three-point plan to address the concerns next year.
The district’s community service fund is expected to end the 2013-14 fiscal year with a $719,646 balance, and its “building construction’ fund is primary being utilized for repairs in 2013-14.
Anderson said the district plans to spend $5.6 million on repair projects and is projected to end the fiscal year with a $177,200 balance.
Anderson said the district will likely issue facilities bonds this fall or winter for future projects.
This fall, the district will also ask voters to approve an operating levy, but if it passes it will not affect the 2013-14 budget.
Funds generated by the levy, if it passes, will begin to be realized in the 2014-15 budget.