Mid-Del approves $146.5M budget

Budget include step raises for employees

By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

The Mid-Del School Board last week approved a fiscal year 2020-21 budget for the district totaling more than $146.5 million.

The board voted unanimously June 8 to approve the budget. The spending plan is about $6 million more than the current $139.9 million budget. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
Kay Medcalf, chief financial officer for Mid-Del Schools, presented the budget to the school board during the May meeting and held a budget hearing on June 8. Both were held virtually due to COVID-19.

The district plans to keep staffing levels steady and will provide a step raise to employees, Medcalf said. The pay raises will cost about $863,000.

“We like to take care of our staff,” Medcalf said during the budget hearing.

The 2020-21 budget includes three certified staff and five non-certified teaching positions as part of the district’s contingency plan depending on enrollment. The district will also contract with Kelly Services for substitutes for the 2020-21 school year.

The largest increases in spending for 2020-21 are for planned building projects at Mid-Del Technology Center and debt service for the 2017 bond issue. The building projects include a new roof at the MDTC. Medcalf said the MCTC could receive funds for the roof as part of a planned bond election on June 30. The district plans to spend about $20 million for debt service, which is up from $16 million in the current year.

The Child Nutrition fund lost about $1 million in revenue due to the school closure last year. The district has continued to offer meals for pickup during the closure and in the summer months.

“They’re serving meals but they’re by no means serving the same number it would be during session,” Medcalf said.

The district will keep lunch prices the same for next year but will increase adult meals by 10 cents.

Medcalf said the district’s building fund continues to lose money every year due to inadequate funding. The fund receives about $2 million in ad valorum every year but has been largely sustained by the sale of Traub and Sooner Rose elementary schools several years ago.  The district uses the building fund for such things as building maintenance and technology.

“We have been babying the amount of money we spend out of there,” Medcalf said. “…We have about run out of those additional dollars so we will have to take a look at what we’re doing and what we allow to be spent out of the building fund.”

Mid-Del is projected to lose about $7.2 million in state aid due to a decrease in the funding formula and enrollment and motor vehicle tax. The state legislature reduced the amount districts receive per student by $100. Mid-Del saw its enrollment decline by 335 students to 22,317.

Last year, Mid-Del received about $1.9 million as part of a lawsuit over the distribution of motor vehicle taxes. Several districts sued the state for misappropriating the tax collections over several years.

Mid-Del will receive about $2.77 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act or CARES ACT. The district must spend the money and then submit a claim for reimbursement.

Medcalf said the district will see savings with the school closures due to COVID-19. She said they will not know the full picture until next month, but said encumbrances were down about $779,000.

“We continued to pay everyone who was contract and because of that you are not seeing a huge savings, but there will be savings,” Medcalf said.

With the decline in revenues, the district’s fund balance is expected to take a hit. The general fund, which provides the bulk of operational expenses, will see its fund balance drop by $4.5 million.

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