Norfolk Public Schools provided an update to its budget at its education board meeting on Thursday.
NPS superintendent Jami Jo Thompson and associate superintendent Bill Robinson both presented at the meeting ahead of public hearings scheduled for next month regarding the district’s budget and tax request.
According to Robinson, general fund revenue for 2021-22 is estimated at $51,948,255. Estimated expenses, or expenses, are $53,226,957. Expenditures include transfers to the District’s sinking (savings) fund and use of $1,278,702 of cash reserves.
Robinson said that while it may appear the district spent more than it reported, the NPS will receive $2.1 million in federal emergency relief reimbursements for elementary and secondary schools (ESSER ) for expenses that occurred last year.
Refunds typically take about a year to be received, Robinson said.
“So consider that…because this expense has already happened, we’ve done it, we just need to get our money back,” Robinson said.
According to Robinson, this leaves the district general fund with an estimated cash balance of $14,045,181 without ESSER refunds. NPS also has a safe cash flow for up to 3.5 months while maintaining its cash reserves, or cash saved, for unforeseen capital expenditures in 2022-23.
It’s recommended to keep three to four months of expenses in the general fund, Robinson said.
“Why? Because over time the government shuts down,” Robinson said. “And we don’t get enough of our federal payments during the shutdown. But the payroll doesn’t stop. to operate, so your cash reserve allows it.
Robinson said the NPS must also keep its cash reserves in general and sinking funds within a 25% limit, which the district is doing for 2022-23.
According to Robinson, the general fund budget for expenses for 2022-23 is $55,432,294. Most of the budget is earmarked for staff costs, whose salary increase was approved this year. The budget also includes additional funds for increases in spending due to inflation.
“Our District should continue to be in strong financial health for 2022-23 with the ability to maintain current programs while accommodating future District needs,” Robinson said.
According to Robinson, the district’s financial health has resulted in a property assessment increase of 6.21% this year. This would allow NPS to potentially reduce its tax levy by $0.001869. The tax levy would be reduced from $1.080000 to $1.078131, if approved by the school board.
“We understand the effect that increasing property taxes have on our local voters,” Thompson said. “We have responded by controlling our spending and reducing our levy by more than 24 cents over the past 12 years.”
Thompson said the district has been able to reduce the tax levy by carefully budgeting its improvement projects. NPS has made several improvements and additions to its schools over the years, without asking for additional taxpayer money through general obligation bonds.
According to Thompson, NPS is ranked 14th out of 244 Nebraska public schools for effectiveness. The district’s cost per student is $13,091, which is lower than the state average of $14,495.
“We work hard to ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely, as we strive to develop strong, confident learners who are ready to successfully navigate their future,” Thompson said.
The NPS has several public hearings scheduled for September before the school board approves the 2022-23 budget and proposed tax demands:
— Monday, September 12, 6:30 p.m.: public hearing on the 2022-23 draft budget at the Norfolk Public Schools Administration Building, 512 Phillip Ave.
– Monday, Sept. 12, 6:45 p.m.: Public hearing on proposed 2022-23 property tax applications at the Norfolk Public Schools Administration Building, 512 Phillip Ave.
– Monday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m.: Joint public hearing on proposed property tax applications at the Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center, 601 E Benjamin Ave.
The NPS will approve the proposed tax applications and budget for 2022-2023 on Wednesday, September 28 at the Norfolk Public Schools Administration Building, 512 Phillip Ave.
The Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education met for its monthly meeting at noon on Thursday. at the Headquarters Office, 512 Phillip Ave.
The match lasted 83 minutes.
Board members present: Leann Widhalm, Jake Claussen, Sandy Wolfe, Tammy Day and Brenda Carhart. Others present: Several district administrators.
— Council members held a budget workshop to discuss the 2022-23 district budget. Associate Superintendent Bill Robinson and Superintendent Jami Jo Thompson both presented.
There were no action items.
UPCOMING MEETINGS: The next school board meeting will be Monday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m. A budget hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m., followed by a tax hearing at 6:45 p.m. The regular school board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The start time of the sessions may be adjusted depending on the duration of the hearings.