Caesar Rodney School District began their budget review process at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. Dr. Ada Carter, director of business and finance for the district, made a presentation to the board outlining budget changes and reviewing revenues and expenditures.
The board unanimously passed the preliminary budget, which as it stands, is balanced. Tuesday’s meeting is just the first step in getting the FY 14 budget passed. The final budget will be voted on in December.
The preliminary budget showed a projected total of $85,383,484 in revenue and a total of $76,285,632 in expenditures operating budget.
Charlton, which has a separate budget, has a projected total of $15,334,044 in revenue and 14,524,553 in expenditures.
The district’s budget for federal funds, tuition funds, minor capital and major capital had a projected total of $23,818,603 in revenue and a projected total of $19,802,273 in expenditures.
For the past two fiscal years the Caesar Rodney School District has deficit spent. This year Carter has devised several ways to save the district money, which will result in a balanced budget if things go according to plan. Carter is projected a surplus of $61,592.
One of the ways that Cater has done this is by expanding the use of tuition funds, which are funds raised through a tax that the board of education sets. This money is used to ensure that special education students are provided with the materials that are outlined in the Individual Education Plans. Carter plans to begin using tuition funds to pay the local portion of the salaries of the teachers who assist tuition eligible special education students.
“This is a way to provide relief to local funds,” Carter said.
In 2012 the state government made changes that allowed for expanded use of tuition funds. The district began to take advantage of the new program opportunities at the pre-k level, but after conducting some analysis Carter determined that the district could save the district money by utilizing the funding on the local portion of teacher’s salaries.
During the budget discussion Carter explained the she had done some analysis and had discovered a way that the district could receive save money. Each year the teacher to student ration is calculated in district classrooms. Those numbers are then translated into units. The district also receives academic excellence units on top of regular units, which can be used in several ways.
“We usually receive 28 or 29 units, you have the option of either coding someone’s salary to it or you can cash up to 30 percent in,” she said. “In previous years we’ve cashed some in.”
In previous years the district received $35,000 for each AE unit that it cashed in and that money was given to the instruction department. By chasing in units the district received additional funding. Carter did an analysis and found that the district could save money by using those units to pay employees by coding their salary to an academic excellence unit.
Page 2 of 2 - “If employees are not on a unit we pay for everything, their state salary, their local salary, their health benefits,” she said. “If you code an employee to a unit the state picks up the state piece, state health and other employee costs.”
Employees that are not currently assigned to a unit will be placed on either a division one or an academic excellence unit, Carter said. Four school based intervention paraprofessionals, one achievement liaison and two math teachers will be put on academic excellence units Two middle school achievement liaisons will be paid through division one units.
“This is a definite gain for the district,” Carter said.