Cloquet School Board passes budgetAfter weeks of waiting and wondering what the state budget would look like, the Cloquet School Board has passed a budget of their own Monday night.
By: Brittany Berrens, Pine Journal
After weeks of waiting and wondering what the state budget would look like, the Cloquet School Board has passed a budget of their own Monday night.
With a unanimous vote, the board approved the 2010 – 2011 school year budget. This budget will leave the school district with a more than $4 million fund balance at the end of the next school year; there is around $5.5 million in the current balance.
But things are still uncertain, and a more solid estimate of the fund balance might not come until October when the state catches up on delayed payments to the school district.
Regardless, Superintendent Ken Scarbrough felt confident in the district’s budget situation.
“Due to the conservative spending by the school board, we are in better shape than a lot of the schools in Minnesota right now,” said Scarbrough.
Also helping the school district’s budget system is the fact that enrollment has remained fairly steady. The district has seen a small increase in students in the past two years. A conservative projection shows around 2,263 students in the Cloquet Public School Systems in the next school year.
“Projections are conservative but that’s how you have to be with enrollment,” said Scarbrough.
In other budget related news, the school board did not file a motion to have a special election this November.
Board members had the option of asking voters to extend the current tax levy from a 2001 referendum.
Currently, home owners are paying 0.00021 percent of their tax rates to the school system from the 2001 referendum. For a home owner with a $100,000 home, this turns out to be a little more than $21 per year.
The board members do still have the option of bringing the referendum up for a vote in 2011 as part of their own election, separate from the city elections.
“We don’t know what’s happening with our economy. In another year we may know more about how our state’s going to handle their deficit,” said Scarbrough.
The current referendum levy extends through taxes payable in 2012. This year, the referendum is expected to collect around $178,000 from property taxes. The amount collected every year fluctuates due to changing property values.
Board member Duane Buytaert said he feels confident that the board could drum up support from the community for the referendum and have a vote in 2011.
Scarbrough wants to make sure that community members are educated about the referendum.
“Ultimately you want as many people informed and as many people as we can get to vote,” said Scarbrough.