KC super: Budget gap at $1.7 million

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

MILL HALL — The Keystone Central school board got an updated look at the preliminary 2019-2020 budget from superintendent Jacquelyn Martin at Thursday night’s voting session.

The board last heard about the budget on Jan. 17.

“What I can tell you is that we are in better shape than we were in January,” Martin said, “but I also want to proceed with caution. We are cautiously optimistic. We do believe that we’re chasing some savings that are not reflected yet. We also believe that next month – if you wish to have another preliminary budget report – that it would look even better than where we are currently … this is the state of our preliminary budget.”

As of Thursday night, the numbers look like this: Staffing – 71.3 percent ($54 million); debt – 2.3 percent ($1.7 million); support of other schools – 12.6 percent ($9.5 million); transportation – 5.9 percent ($4.5 million); infrastructure – 4.3 percent ($3.3 million); operating costs – 3.3 percent ($2.5 million); budgetary reserve – 0.3 percent ($0.2 million).

Those numbers set the total budget at $75,754,328.

Martin has been crunching numbers since taking over as superintendent six weeks ago.

“For the last six weeks, we’ve been looking at some decreases in expenditures,” Martin explained.

Martin pointed out some increasing revenues in the district. They are: Additional state subsidy ($481,000); federal title award ($80,000); surplus program (to be determined); capital project fund ($153,000); facility use contracts (to be determined).

As far as funding the budget, that breaks down like this: Local sources ($33.9 million); state sources ($38.1 million); federal sources ($2 million). The total revenue is $74 million, leaving a budget gap of $1.7 million.

As Martin reviews the budget, she said there are some areas that can be tweaked.

“What we’re doing is a zero-based budgeting process where people are not getting what they’ve always gotten in line items,” Martin said. “They’re justifying their request from a zero-based budgeting standpoint. At that point in the conversations, I’m making a lot of judgment calls based on what I believe is something that we need to have versus something that’s nice to have in the instructional process.”

The school board will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 at the Central Mountain High School auditorium.

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