WCS Reviews Proposed 2021 Budget

Warsaw Community Schools Administration Building (Photo Provided)

Chief Financial Officer April Fitterling presented the 2021 proposed budget to the Warsaw School Board Tuesday.

The proposed budget totals $83,016,140.

The education fund is $45,700,000. The operations fund is $21,584,703. The debt service fund is $11,152,437 with a $0.6732 proposed tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation. The referendum fund is $2,879,000 with a $0.4698 proposed tax rate. The rainy day fund is $1.7 million with a $0.1217 proposed tax rate.

Fitterling said the budget will be reviewed and adjusted as the assessed values come in. If the assessed rates come in higher, the tax rates will go lower. The proposed total tax rate is $1.234 “but actually this year, we are just at $0.87, so you can see that it will come down. It could be higher than $0.87, where we’re at right now,” but Warsaw Community Schools will see when the assessed tax rates come in.

The education fund is funded by the state basic grant based on the school corporation’s enrollment. For the 2021 budget, Fitterling has it based on an estimate of 6,796 students. The official count will be Friday. The base funding amount is $6,123.79 per student.

Expenditures from the education fund include principals’ salaries and benefits, teachers’ salaries and benefits, classroom technology and supplies and coaches, Fitterling said.

The operations fund is funded through local property taxes.

Things that come out of the operations fund include utilities, maintenance and transportation, Fitterling said.

The budget will be adopted at the Oct. 26 meeting.

Fitterling also talked about possible projects that would be worked on with the 2020 general obligations bonds.

In August, the school board approved requesting bonds for a maximum of $3 million for capital projects.

A facilities plan was made previously for cost savings, creating efficiencies and keeping up with technology and building needs, Fitterling said. The school corporation is also keeping an eye on future projects so as to not overextend itself in the general obligations it requests.

Every year, the school corporation administration has a spring meeting with the school principals and asks them what the schools need and what the principals would like to see done.

Potential projects are on the school corporations’ 10-year facility plan, Fitterling said.

The Jefferson Elementary gym floor “has been causing issues for awhile, so that’s on there,” as well as restroom improvements, additional classrooms at Warsaw Community High School and a tennis court.

These projects are all something that the operations fund cannot sustain. Fitterling said if the school district is doing a project that the operations fund cannot sustain, “if you’re doing anything over $1 million, then you could take on debt and that’s what we do with GO bonds.”

The hearing for the general obligations bonds will be during Monday’s meeting at Harrison Elementary School.