St. Joseph school board approves budget amendment

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — While St. Joseph schools were closed Monday for the first snow day of the academic year, the board of education adopted a budget amendment.

Meeting at the Upton Middle School Media Center, trustees learned both the district’s revenue and expenses have surpassed what administration expected when the budget was drafted in July.

Kathy Hamilton, chief financial officer, said the increases came as a result of changes to the student count and extra maintenance.

Administration’s expectations were surpassed as the first half of the 2016-17 academic year produced a $877,000 increase in revenue. However, expenses also increased $837,000 – leaving the district with nearly $40,000 extra funding near the end of the first semester.

The increased revenue stems from the district’s current blended student count of 2,991 students, an increase of 67 students – or a $104,000 increase.

The district received $25,000 more from federal programming and the BRESA Excess Equity Payment increased $145,000 than what was originally budgeted.

“Some years we get it a lot and some years we don’t,” Hamilton said in reference to the BRESA Payment. “It’s been very cyclical. We got about $30,000 last year, but are getting $145,000 more this year.”

Some of the major expenditures the district incurred through its first semester included additional middle and high school sections, added assistants and secretaries, and an increase in custodial/maintenance costs.

Hamilton said the district is moving in the right direction, as they are projecting a 10.7 percent fund balance.

“I’m conservative when it comes to budgeting, but when we talk about budgeting in your own homes, you’re supposed to have three months worth of expenses in savings,” she said. “Well, three months for us would be about a 25 percent fund balance. That’s hard to attain, but we’re heading in the right direction.”

The district is expected to adopt at least one more budget amendment before the next fiscal year begins in July.

Superintendent Ann Cardon thanked Hamilton for going through the “thousands of line items” to make the budget amendment possible.

“This is the most accurate glance we can show you of where we stand as of Dec. 12,” Cardon told trustees. “This is a really clean budget and it let’s us know everything is being accounted for.”

The next board meeting is at 6 p.m. on Jan. 9 in the North Lincoln Administration building.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 13, 2016)

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