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HSD to see $2.9 Million Operating Budget Deficit

The Hazelwood School District Board of Education approved the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget at its meeting on Tuesday, and cut expenditures to accommodate for the deficit.

Crunching numbers and cutting plans. Those are some measures the (HSD) will have to take while realizing a $2.9 million operating deficit for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

"That is different for us," said Dwight Lindhorst, assistant superintendent for finance and facilities. "Last year we started out with an operating deficit of 1.5 million, but that is the first year since I’ve been in the district that we’ve started out not having a balanced budget."

Lindhorst said the deficit isn't a surprise.

"As I’ve been saying over the past few years, we knew starting this (2011-12 fiscal year) we would have a funding cliff with state funding and also with drops in assessed valuation," he said. "So we knew this was coming and had been planning for it."

The majority of state funding from the State of Missouri is received through the
basic formula apportionment. The budget reflects approximately $2.5 million less in state revenue compared to the amount the district received in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Some examples of ways to save include reducing expenditures, to the tune of more than $1 million.

"We've cut some expenditures to make up for the $2.9 million deficit including our plans to purchase school buses," Lindhorst said. "We are purchasing five buses instead of the 10 we were approved to buy."

The Hazelwood School District Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday.

Total budgeted operating revenues are $177,969,598 and total budgeted operating expenditures are $180,888,395. The budgeted operating ending fund balances total $57,323,209, which is 31.69 percent of operating expenditures.

Both Lindhorst and board member Charles Woods emphasized to parents in the audience one thing about bond issues funds.

"No matter the budget deficit, we can't use bond funds for anything other than construction," Woods said. "So even though you see a surplus under bonds, we can't use that money for salaries, school books or anything but construction."

. Below is a brief budget summary. According to the district, the 2012-2013 budget:

  • Reflects about $2 million HSD gets from TIF
  • Health care premiums are going up 2.5 percent and including employee salary increases equates to an increase of $600,000 this year
  • Retirement contributions remain static
  • About 82 percent of the operating fund is salaries and employee benefits
  • Is usually revised in October, February and June to reflect any variances, including grants and federal funds received during the year
  • Is based on estimates, but the estimates will vary from the actual amounts reflected in the reports to the state and the audited financial statements
  • Revenue estimates are low but expenditure estimates are high

The budget includes the below combined funds:

  • Incidental fund: salary and benefits for all support staff, training costs, utilities, other purchased services, supplies and instructional materials
  • Teachers’ fund: salary, insurance, and retirement costs for professional staff; substitute teacher costs; and tuition payments to other districts
  • Bond issue fund: construction, renovation and additions approved by voters; projects start this month, with more to begin throughout this fiscal year.
  • Capital Projects fund: used to account for revenues restricted for acquisition or construction of major capital assets, including renovation projects and equipment and vehicle purchases
  • Debt service fund: used to account for the accumulation of resources for, and the payment of, principal, interest and fiscal charges on general obligation bonds

Editor's Correction: HSD will see a 2.5 percent increase in health care premiums.

Pat McPartland June 16, 2012 at 04:01 PM
So, as I look through the budgets for the past two school years, I notice that the Reserve Fund has grown from 29% to 32%. What is the reserve fund and why is it growing? Can this money be used to offset the deficit?
Monkeybread June 17, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Looking at the budget report from last year (posted on this website), the district had $50,858,319 in reserves. In the new budget report attached to this article, they have $57,323,209 in reserves. The headline implies that their reserves have gone down almost $3 million when in fact, they have increased over $6 million.
Candace Jarrett June 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Hey Pat and Monkeybread. Thanks for reading the article and examining the budget documents. I'm glad they are getting use as that's the reason I posted them. I wanted readers to be able to see public documents. I'm sure HSD will end up using reserve funds for make up for the loss; however, I can't speak for the district. I do encourage you to reach out to Dwight Lindhorst and he'll be able to answer any questions you have. HSD updates the budget each quarter and gives reports to the public.The headline of the article simply states what was stated at the budget public hearing last week and that is the operating budget is realizing a total deficit of $2.9 million. Yes there is a reserve, but when you are budgeting, reserve is not part of the budget. In my opinion, the reserve comes into play when the deficit is realized, just like with savings accounts. When you work through your household budget you don't automatically include the funds you've reserved in your savings account. You move some of them over to the account that's short after you've crunched the numbers and realized the problem. Thanks again for your comments and I hope you continue to read our Patch sites. Again, I'm really excited to see posting the budget documents have been a benefit to readers!
Ashley June 18, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I don't really think it does imply that. The headline says there's an operating deficit. Having reserves doesn't take away from the fact there is a deficit.
Ashley June 18, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I with you Pat. I hope they do use reserve for the gap.
Monkeybread June 18, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Correction on my comment: this year's budget was projected to have a $1.5 million deficit but actually the reserves grew by over $6 million. Next year is the projected $3 million deficit. But that is just a projection (just like the $1.5 million was).

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