Carson City school district reviews budget

Capital projects and loss of Race to the Top funding were among the issues discussed at a public hearing to review the Carson City School District’s 2015-2016 Fiscal Year budget Wednesday.

The budget laid out by Andrew Feuling, director of Fiscal Services for the school district, has a $2.6 million deficit for FY16. The school district plans to cover the deficit with some of its $9.3 million general fund reserves.

“I think we are looking at perception of community and staff because a lot of the news is positive with the economy — with sales tax projections, state purchases — so all those things lead you to think that the school district must be doing OK, but in reality we are still struggling with some of the same concepts that we have ...,” District Superintendent Richard Stokes said recently before the meeting.

One problem board members expressed concern about was the need for more specific spending plans for Capital Projects Revenues which would be used to address possible safety concerns for Fremont and Mark Twain Elementary Schools. Both have boiler maintenance issues that could impact students and board members are concerned with possibly putting off replacement costs for heat pumps until next fiscal year while waiting for bond money.

Mark Korinek said it’s not a safety concern because the district still spends the money on maintenance for the boilers. The revenues, which totaled about $100,000 would go towards projects such as upkeep for things like parking lots and roofs, as well as any other similar school projects. However, board members were concerned with the “placeholder numbers” and wanted specific totals for projects.

The board still approved the Capital Plan under the condition Fueling would come back with more specific numbers for the plan when they meet in June.

The biggest issue the school board and school district is concerned with is the loss of the Race to the Top grant in the FY2017 budget. Both district officials and school board have expressed a desire to get an early start on that budget. Feuling said that will be made easier once the Legislature finishes its work.

“It is an ongoing strategy,” Stokes said. “We had additional funding available in the ending fund and we are balancing trying to find a way to use that with the downed economy. It is an ongoing operation, we are just trying to soften the blow.”


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