School district reports solid budget with some improvements

— Gordon Woods / gwoods@theclintonjournal.com
Posted 7/3/24

CLINTON — School district business manager Drew Goebel gave the school board some details about the fiscal year 2024 budget during the recent board meeting.

“The very first thing …

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School district reports solid budget with some improvements

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CLINTON — School district business manager Drew Goebel gave the school board some details about the fiscal year 2024 budget during the recent board meeting.

“The very first thing I’m going to do is compare the original budget that was approved at the beginning of the school year,” Goebel said. 

“The salaries are set in place, but then there are others, supplies and services, investments and other things that will affect what we budgeted for and what we actually spent.”

Goebel said it was standard practice for school districts to examine and amend their budgets in June “to match up to what we actually spent.”

Starting and ending fiscal year fund balances remain the same.

Goebel said a working cash fund transfer into the education fund is shown to cover the fund’s deficit. 

“That’s what I was anticipating us having,” he said.  “This is just for the budget.

But, he emphasized it did not reflect a negative budget overall.

“We don’t have a negative budget,” Goebel said.  “We anticipated that’s how much we were going to be over, so that’s how much we transferred.”

Goebel said the district transferred slightly more than necessary, which would help in the budget next year.

The district’s working cash fund essentially functions as a savings account.  The district levies money into each of its various funds.

“I don’t think all districts do a working cash transfer,” Goebel said.  “What sets us apart is, our tax rate …is at 3.56.”

He said this was significantly lower than surrounding school districts. 

“Our tax rate for the school district is extremely low,” he said.

The district levies 1.84 percent into its education fund, about half what most other districts in the area levy.  Goebel said the district levies such a small percentage into its education fund, it creates a deficit it must cover by moving money from the working cash fund.

“Clinton has done that for as long as I can remember,” he said.

A transfer from the working cash fund as a loan also helped ensure financing for facility upgrades over the course of the year. 

“Since it was a loan, and we just put it back, we don’t have to pass a resolution,” Goebel said.

The district ended up not needing the loan, so it went back into the working cash fund.

The amount reflected for the cost of new bleachers was higher, Goebel said, simply because the process pushed the item onto this year’s budget.  The project involved state Health/Life/Safety requirements.  The district sold bonds to cover the project.

“The fund balance in Health/Life/Safety …is at $2.1 million.” Goebel said.  “So, we’re still looking really good.”

The district budgeted overall spending at about $29.6 million.  It came in at about $30.06 million.

“But, the cash balance, what we actually have with investments and everything, I had budgeted $31 million,” Goebel added.  “But, we’re at $31.2 million.”

Educational supplies were budgeted at about $774 ,000.  The district actually spent a little over $1 million because of the purchase of new MacBook computers.

The district also received a large school improvement grant.

“So, we’ve been spending that money, which is 100 percent reimbursable,” Goebel said.  “That extra spending, we’re going to get all that back.”

Goebel also reported the district’s investments performed much better than expected.