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Elk Mound school board approves $11.49 million preliminary budget for 2015-2016

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND  — The Elk Mound Board of Education has approved an $11.49 million preliminary budget for 2015-2016 for Fund 10 expenditures that will be presented at the annual meeting in August.

The Elk Mound school board approved the preliminary budget at the July 27 meeting.

The 2015-2016 budget includes $8.04 million in state aid and a per pupil adjustment of $160,000.

The per pupil adjustment is what the school district would have lost in the state budget proposed by the governor, said Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator.

The proposed budget includes $5.488 million in the Fund 10 budget for salaries and another $2.937 million dollars for benefits.

The benefits for 2015-2016 include $1.4 million for health insurance.

Last year, benefits were listed in the budget as $3.043 million and salaries were listed at $5.402 million.

The beginning balance in the food service budget is $175,548.

The Department of Public Instruction says that Elk Mound’s beginning balance in the food service budget has been too high, Dr. Walsh said.

The DPI “says we should spend down (the beginning balance),” he said, noting that Elk Mound has not had any increases in lunch prices for several years and also has not had any expenditures to buy or repair food service equipment.

The new cafeteria and kitchen were part of the building project several years ago, so none of the equipment has needed to be replaced, Dr. Walsh said.

Later on in the meeting, the Elk Mound Board of Education approved increasing lunch prices at the elementary school, middle school and high school by ten cents per meal. Prices will increase from $2.10 per meal for the elementary school to $2.20. Prices will increase for the middle school and high school from $2.45 to $2.55.

Even though Elk Mound has a healthy food service fund balance, the DPI recommended increasing lunch prices this year so that the district does not get into a position where there have been no lunch price increases for a number of years, and then the prices have to be raised significantly in one large increase, Dr. Walsh said.

As for the mill rate, the difference will be about one cent more per $100,000 of property value.

For the 2014-2015 school year, the mill rate was $9.28 per $1,000 of property value, and for the 2015-2016 school year, the mill rate is projected at $9.29 per $1,000 of property value.

Over the past ten years, equalized value in the district has increased an average of 2.77 percent per year.

The increase in equalized value for the 2014-2015 school year was 5.4 percent.

The Elk Mound school district’s budget hearing and annual meeting is scheduled at 8 p.m. August 31. The regular school board meeting August 31 begins at 6:45 p.m.

Other business

Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Approved hiring Candy Pahl as a bus driver.

• Approved hiring Kristine Olson as the assistant cross country coach.

• Granted a one year leave of absence from coaching football to Jayson Lesik.

• Approved hiring Jesse Zurbuchen for one year as the football coach during Lesik’s leave of absence.

• Accepted Randi Stanley’s resignation as the high school business education teacher.

• Approved hiring Jennifer George as the high school business education teacher.

• Approved hiring Nicole Blaskowski as a half-time guidance counselor. Blaskowski also serves the school district as a half-time art teacher.