Stillwater News Press

October 10, 2012

Stillwater school district releases operating budget

By Mark Rountree
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Public Schools will spend $6,156.92 per student to educate the district’s 5,958 students in fiscal year 2013.

In a comprehensive operating budget report to the school board on Tuesday, Phillip Storm, chief financial officer for the district, said that FY 2012 ended with a general fund balance of $5.7 million, the highest general fund balance in recent history. He said this was due to the cumulative effect of three years of budget cuts.

The district plans to dip into that balance in FY 2013 to pay for an average 3.5 percent pay hike for teachers, Storm said.

He said the district has 11 new teaching positions, and seven teacher’s assistant positions have been created.

The district will have added expenditures for new textbooks and a new teacher evaluation program.

Storm said that revenue is expected to be stable in FY 2013 and that the district has an additional 105 students this year, which should allow state funding to remain stable.

Budgeted expenditures exceed budgeted revenue by $1.8 million, which will reduce the general fund balance from $5.7 million to $3.9 million.

According to the report, projected district revenues for FY 2013 will be $36.7 million.

State funds account for the largest funding source for the district, amounting to $12.5 million or 34 percent of revenues. Local property taxes account for $11.5 million or 33 percent of revenues.

The district has budgeted expenditures of $38.5 million, about $2.4 million more than last year. The district will spend $25.7 million on salaries, $8 million for benefits, $2.3 million in supplies and $1 million for professional and technical services.

Some of the big-ticket items include $330,877 for worker’s compensation, an increase of about $49,000 from last year, $290,582 for new textbooks, a one-time expense of $145,000 for the implementation of a teacher evaluation program and $75,000 for school resource officers, an increase of about $47,000 from last year.

The district will spend $18.3 million on certified salaries, $5.2 million on non-certified staff salaries, $1.9 million on health insurance for certified staff, $1.4 million on teacher’s assistants, $1.3 million for school principals and $1 million on directors/coordinators.

The report stated despite an expected student growth rate of 1.8 percent, the total ratio of students to certified staff is 14 to 1. The report indicated that Skyline Elementary School grew by nearly 10 percent, a gain of 52 students.

The school board also got an update from architect Bob Schaefer on the construction progress at Highland Park Elementary School and Will Rogers Elementary School.

He said studs are being put in place at Highland Park, which is 27 percent completed.

“You can begin to get a sense of the space,” he said.

Construction at Will Rogers is 18 percent completed, Schaefer said. Plumbing and utilities are being installed under the slab.

Schaefer said another review session on the Cimarron Plaza project will be held next week. The district purchased the 35-acre tract of land in June with the intent of building an athletic village and wellness center.

Schaefer displayed several design options at a recent board meeting. He said a final concept will be selected at the next review session, but that session likely will not result in any firm cost estimates for the project.