Richfield School District expects revenue decline

The Richfield School District began its new fiscal year July 1 with about $1.2 million less to work with in its general fund than last year.

The expected revenue reduction for core programming in the 2017-18 school year can be attributed to an anticipated enrollment reduction and a decrease in federal grant funding, Craig Holje, Richfield’s chief human resources and administrative officer, told the Richfield School Board at its June meeting.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the new budget, which includes an expected $60 million in revenue in the general fund, covering core programming and transportation. The reduced budget means the equivalent of nearly 18 full-time teaching positions are being cut, according to Holje.

A decline in per pupil revenue from the state is anticipated based on a projected drop of 66 students, based on a district report from January.

And in the declining federal revenue that further contributes to cuts, Richfield is not alone, Holje explained in an email to the Sun Current.

“The federal government funds specific programs based on the demographics in Richfield and across the country. Many local school districts are seeing reductions in this area,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Richfield Schools’ total revenue for 2017-18 – including categories such as food service, community education and debt payments – is expected to be about $77 million.

That marks a drop of about $21.7 million from last fiscal year, but the difference comes from what is essentially an accounting transaction involving bond refunding, meant to reduce interest costs, Holje explained.

Follow Andrew Wig on Twitter @RISunCurrent.