District 191 will dip into reserves in 2017-18

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will spend an estimated $4.76 million in general fund reserves next year to avoid budget cuts.

The deficit spending is in the 2017-18 budget the School Board approved June 22.

The $225.71 million budget includes general fund spending of $130.6 million against revenue of $125.84 million.

The budget avoids cuts that could affect programs “critical to the Vision One91 ongoing transition,” a series of reforms underway in the district, Business Services Executive Director Lisa Rider wrote in a report to the board.

The budget reflects an estimated loss of 140 students in the 2017-18 school year, continuing the district’s enrollment losses. Enrollment next year is estimated at 8,943, compared with 9,083 in 2016-17.

“With each student generating approximately $10,322 in revenue, a small deviation in enrollment can produce a significant change in revenue,” the report said.

The base revenue per pupil unit — $6,188 — is set by the state and includes a 2 percent increase passed by the 2017 Legislature.

Board approval includes waiver of a district policy calling an unassigned general fund balance totaling at least 8 percent of general fund spending. Under the budget, the balance will dip to 7.47 percent.

The budget reflects class sizes averaging about 24.5 students per teacher in the elementary grades and 33 to 36 in the secondary grades.

The total budget includes spending of $54.74 million for debt service, on the heels of a $65 million construction bond voters approved in February 2015.