Mitchell School District's budget is in good shape.
That's the message Business Manager Steve Culhane and Superintendent Joe Graves had for board members Tuesday.
"It's status quo for the Mitchell School District," Culhane said.
Culhane breezed through an overview of the school district's proposed General Fund, Capital Outlay, Special Education and Food Services budgets during the Mitchell Board of Education's regular meeting Tuesday night at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy.
The General Fund, the largest of the budgets discussed, is slated to just top $17 million. One of the highlights of the district's overall budget, Culhane noted, is that there is no request for an opt-out this year, which other board members have also touted as a positive. Culhane said the district has the ability to ask for up to $700,000 in additional taxes through the opt-out."The school board has always said that they would only do that if it was necessary," he said. "At this point, our reserves are such, that we don't have to ask the taxpayers of the Mitchell School District for more."
He said the district's reserves have about $4.6 million. If the district ends up spending and earning back everything as projected, Culhane said the district could end up dipping into about $300,000 of those reserves—which he described as a "very small amount."
The school district also had an extra $800,000 in the Capital Outlay fund in order to cover the recently approved Fine Arts Center project that came in over budget by 15%. I suggested reducing the levy on Capital outlay by $700,000 and use the $700,000 opt-out to increased teacher pay without adding more taxes. Clearly the low teacher pay is not due to lack of tax revenues, but due to misplaced priorities at the state and local levels.