Nebraska Unified District’s budget is a near mirror to last year’s, thanks to a less than $9,000 increase in tax asking.
Unified Board members approved the budget during Monday’s meeting, which included a .12 percent increase in general fund levy. The 2017-18 tax asking will increase $8,601.13 from last year.
But there was still concern heard from the audience on the budget. Regina Krebs questioned the budget with main concerns about the non-SPED expenditures.
“The number that stood out is that when I look at the non-SPED expenditures. They increase by $200,010. When I went up and looked, half of that $200,010 is going to our administration. So, four people are getting half of our non-SPED expenditure increases, and our 400 students are getting the other half,” Krebs said during the budget hearing.
Board members asked for an explanation for the minimal increase of the general fund.
Sally Finch explained, “Our cash balance is increasing, so it allows you to absorb some of the expenses next year because virtually you already have that money in your account.”
Although the board was pleased with not having a significant levy increase, they expressed concerns about the future years and discussed potential increases and their spending authority.
As of now, the school would not be able to put much more into the general fund thanks to a cash reserve maximum of 45 percent. The district is currently sitting at 36 percent.
Unified President Joe Thiele expressed concerns about the budget having negative effects on the future years. After more discussion, the board voted to approve with the published budget.
Other concerns raised during the meeting was with the current ACT results since the district scored below the state average with an average of 19.9 with 25 students taking the test. In the upcoming years, the ACT will be required and be used for the state testing.
Peggy Liska raised the question as to how the averages will change in the future.
“If you have students that have no intention of going on to college, but you’re going to make them take a mandatory test such as the ACT. Are you going to have a lack of effort in that? Therefore, is that going to influence those scores?” she asked.
The next Nebraska Unified Meeting will be set for October 16 at 7 p.m. in Orchard.