Jefferson School District 251 approves budget

Jefferson Joint School District 251 will benefit from a nearly $1.5 million increase in state revenue in its upcoming fiscal year budget.

That additional revenue will be used for a number of purposes, including reinstating mid-day kindergarten busing, reinstating one non-student day, which benefits all certified staff, and helping to fund a 1 percent base salary increase for both certified and classified staff.

In addition, the state funding increase also will help cover rising insurance costs, which the district will absorb in full, business manager Guy Wangsgard said.

School board members approved the district’s 2014-15 fiscal year budget June 11. The $43.9 million budget includes $25.27 million in maintenance and operations funds and $18.6 million in all other funds.

The budget also includes potential emergency levy revenue to meet State Tax Commission requirements. Whether that emergency levy is used will be determined by the school board in August or September, Wangsgard said.

“In our county, because we’re growing, we have the opportunity to certify an emergency levy,” he said. “In order for that to happen, it has to be on the budget, just in case. Whether it actually occurs will be known in September.”

The previous fiscal year, after voters overwhelmingly defeated a $1 million supplemental levy, the district made a number of cost-saving staff cuts, including cutting all elementary school librarians and secondary-school library aides, as well as a variety of paraprofessionals, lunchroom aides and office and custodial staff.

This year’s appears to be looking up, Wangsgard said. “It’s certainly nice not to have to make all the cuts we’ve been doing for the last four or five years. We sure hope it stays this way.”