School board approves preliminary budget

The Edina School Board approved a preliminary operating budget of roughly $116 million for the 2017-18 school year during its June 12 meeting.
“My gift to you, Dr. Dressen is to not do the presentation tonight, but I am required to,” Margo Bauck, director of business services, joked to Dressen during his last meeting as Edina Superintendent.
The budget discussion is required by state statute, which included building, debt service and internal service funds as well.
The preliminary operating budget, which includes the general, food service and community service operating funds, represents a decrease in revenue of $2.8 million and an expenditure decrease of $459,267.
Bauck said that while Edina was fortunate to receive a 2 percent increase from the state Legislature, expenditures continually grow at a faster rate.
Bauck noted that previous increases in the general education formula have been below the annual rate of inflation for the past 20 years.
“It is not just Edina – all schools have to deal with it,” Bauck said.
For example, 55 percent of the revenue that Edina received in the last year is money that is affected by a Legislature increase. The rest is from other sources, including property tax, that may potentially stay stagnant.
Bauck said the legislated revenue increases have not been sufficient to meet the demands posed by the rate of inflation.
“Thus the district has had to rely on property tax referenda to support its educational programs,” she said.
The district plans to seek a renewal of its expiring operating levy, with a possible increase, in November.
Compared to other Lake Conference schools, the operating referendum per student in Edina is lower for the 2016 (pay 2017) school year.
Edina is $1,412 compared to $1,487 in Wayzata, $1,628 in Minnetonka, $1,801 in Eden Prairie and $2,011 in Hopkins.
While the state formula increased, the district is expecting a 2.3 percent decrease in revenue from federal aid, long-term facility maintenance and abatement levies.
Expected expenditure increases include a combination of enhancements added as part of the budget plan approved in April, the high school schedule change, operational costs for increased square footage of facilities, start and end time changes, employee benefit rates and lane changes.
Bauck gave an update on the Capitol Project-Construction Fund, which includes the $124.9 million referendum for district-wide construction. Eighty percent of the bids are on time and on budget. Three of the schools projects still need to be bid on in the fall.
The board voted unanimously in support of the preliminary budget.
A revised final budget will be presented to the board in December for final approval, which will include updated enrollment numbers and formula adjustments.