SCOTTSBLUFF — The Scottsbluff Public Schools Board of Education adopted the 2019-20 academic year budget as well as a property tax request at the Sept. 9 meeting.

Marianne Carlson, executive director of finance, presented the proposed budget and tax request to the board with the goals of support the strategic anchors for the district of quality instructional programming and evaluation systems, effective, restorative and trauma-informed practices and meaningful integration of technology.

The district no longer received funds from an innovation grant. That means 80% of the district’s $47.2 million budget comes from state and local taxes. On the expenditures portion, 69.38% of the budget goes toward salaries and benefits. Of the total money budgeted, Carlson said the district does not plan to spend $3 million of it in case something comes up.

“This year we are anticipating a 4.67% increase in the budget and that can be attributed to different things,” Carlson said. “Obviously, some growing costs in our contracts and negotiations with teachers, classified staff and administrators.”

The district’s building fund increased 13.77% this year due to property taxes accumulating in the fund. The nutrition services fund increased slightly by 1.43% based upon agreements with Taher food services. Within the Qualified Capital fund, the district has $250,000 in cash reserve, increasing the fund by 11.81% for the school year. The activities fund saw a decline for the 2019-20 year.

“The activities fund is decreasing slightly because we have a pretty significant pad in that fund, so I didn’t feel like we needed the full $1.95 million to be covered for 2019-2020.”

As the district prepares for their long-term and short-term district facility needs, the depreciation fund increased 13.55% to $3.16 million. The student fees, employee benefits and cooperative funds will remain flat for the year. After the district refinanced the bonds in July, the expenses decreased in the fund by 0.35% to $3.95 million.

After reading aloud the budget motion, the school board unanimously approved the 2019-20 budget for $20.6 million.

Carlson also shared information about the proposed property tax request.

“Statute 77-3442 allows a maximum levee of $1.05 and for us, we’ll use this on a joint levee for our general fund and our special building fund,” Carlson said.

The district proposed setting a final tax request different from the 2018-19 year, as the district saw an increase in the property valuation by 2.10%. After multiplying the new total assessed value of property, the district’s property value would be $1.288 per $100 of assessed value, so a new property tax request was set at $1.315 per $100 of assessed value. What that means for the taxpayer is if they own a $100,000 home, they would pay $1,315 in taxes.

The tax request for the general fund was set at $16,336,141, the bond fund at $3,349,192, the special building fund at $147,374 and qualified capital purpose undertaking fund at $815,152.

“The proceeds from these funds pay for the principle and interest on our Scottsbluff High School and Scottsbluff Middle School bonds,” she said.

They are asking the public for an additional $1.05, which equals $424,831. That money will go into the general fund.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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