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Pine River-Backus School Board hears preliminary 2013-2014 budget

At a meeting to discuss the 2013-14 preliminary school budget, the Pine River-Backus School Board learned Monday, June 10, that revenues are projected to increase by 2.4 percent and expenses are predicted to decrease by 3.3 percent as compared to the 2012-13 revised budget.

“Going into this we had said at the revised budget meeting that we want a balanced budget going forward. So, that is what we have aimed for,” said Jolene Bengtson, school district business manager who presented this budget. Bengtson’s presentation showed the 2012-13 total revenues as $10,114,277 as compared to $10,361,353 projected for 2013-14.

Bengtson’s report showed a decrease in expenses from $14,579,123 to 10,261,054. That calculates to 29.6 percent. Bengtson said that this amount includes building construction costs. She said without including building construction costs, the decrease in expenses actually amounts to $476,889 between 2012-13 and 2013-14, or 3.3 percent.

Bengtson’s presentation explained some of the major changes in the budget. She said the state reinstated the staff development setaside. This is an amount of money that the school would set aside for staff training, education and related expenses. PR-B is required to set aside 2 percent, which amounts to approximately $110,000. This amount shows up as an increase in district expenses and a decrease in elementary and high school expenses.

To meet the requirement, 3.3 percent of each teacher’s salary and benefits are to be allocated to a “new set of budget codes.”

In addition, Bengtson’s report said general fund revenues are projected to increase $216,270 overall due mainly to increases in state basic formula funding. She also said local revenues increased by $88,952 in the main levy, career and technical levy, and safe schools levy.

Bengtson said that a section of fourth grade will be added to the budget as well as a supplemental position for grades 5-8 math and language.

This budget has yet to be approved and will be voted on during the next regular meeting at 7 p.m. June 17.