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Elk Mound school board pondering $80,000 surplus in 2015 budget

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND  —  By all accounts, it’s a good problem to have.

But now that the end of the 2014-2015 school year is approaching, the Elk Mound Board of Education will have to decide what to do with approximately $80,000 left over in the budget.

The school district currently has a $2.3 million fund balance, representing 20 percent of the $11.3 million Fund 10 budget, said Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator.

The school district has a policy of maintaining between 20 percent and 33 percent of the Fund 10 budget as an unassigned fund balance, he said.

The fund balance exists for two reasons: for emergencies or for cash flow, Dr. Walsh said.

With the approximately $81,058 that will be left in the budget, the school board can either put that money into the fund balance or spend it on short-range planning project, he said, noting that the school district has spent $140,671 on short-range planning projects this year but that there is almost $500,000 in projects left on the list.

Any money remaining in a budget will not be included in the school district’s state aid the following year, Dr. Walsh said.

Elk Mound is a school district that receives state aid at 80 percent of the budget, so if $50,000 is not spent, for example, the school district will lose $40,000 in general state aid the following year, he explained.

Long-range planning and short-range planning helps the school district to know how to spend leftover funds, said Tim Sivertson, president of the Board of Education.

The school board has chosen to spend down the budget for the past few years, Dr. Walsh said.

The $2.3 million unassigned fund balance has been built up over many years, he noted.

“What we’ve done in the past has worked well,” Sivertson said.

The Elk Mound Board of Education did not make any decisions about spending the leftover budget money at the March 30 meeting. The school board is expected take action on spending the remaining budget amount within the next month or two.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Presented a Notable Education Contribution Award to Kelly Roder, who has worked in the Mound View Elementary office for the past five years. She is always welcoming, has great computer skills, and is willing to help with Parent Teacher Organization events, said Eric Hanson, principal at Mound View Elementary. “She does all those extra things to make our school great,” he said.

• Learned that 62 parents and students signed up for the first-ever Math Family Night at Mound View Elementary on March 2. The school plans to hold another Math Family Night in the fall.

• Learned that 250 people attended PTO Bingo Night on March 20 at Mound View Elementary.

• Learned that ALICE safety training was planned for all three schools on April 2. Each training session was expected to last 35 to 40 minutes. An ALICE safety letter was sent out to all parents in the district on March 30.

• Learned that Elk Mound High School will have 11 forensics students going to the state meet in Madison.

• Approved a list of summer school courses, including Mound View Academy; 5-12 show choir; high school flag camp; high school marching band camp; remediation classes; and swimming.

• Approved building budgets in the amount of $154,127 for 2015-2016. Since the state’s education budget is an unknown at this point, the building budgets are the same as last year, Dr. Walsh said. The building budgets are $67,627 for Elk Mound High School; $28,250 for Elk Mound Middle School; and $34,250 for Mound View Elementary. The budgets include classroom supplies, textbooks and other educational materials.

• Accepted the low bid of $80,223 for a new bus from Mid-State Bus Services.

• Accepted the resignation of Ben Robertson as an elementary special education teacher.

• Scheduled the next meeting for April 27.

Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education approved hiring Karla Jenson as a bus driver.