By IVY HERRON
The Clay Community School Board of Trustees approved the advertisement of the 2006/07 school budget at Thursday's special session meeting at the North Clay Middle School Media Center.
The Clay Community School Corporation has a proposed total budget of $41,774,651, according to Business Manager/Treasurer Randy Burns,
"We always underestimate the amount of funds we think we'll get and overestimate the costs in an effort to create a conservative budget," Burns said. "We don't know the assessed property values yet, which slows down the budgeting process. It will be February before we have a real handle on how much we will have."
Burns, who will be leaving to corporation soon, said he will attend the Sept. 5 budget hearing to answer any possible questions the board might have about the budget.
Board Vice President Terry Barr equated the budget process to creating a wish list for the state board of accounts to review.
"We ask for what we want and the state tells us what and how much we can have," she said.
The budget is divided into six funds, including the General Fund, Debt Service Fund, Capital Projects Fund, Transportation Operating Fund, Bus Replacement Fund, Special Education Preschool (Fund) and the Retirement/Severance Bond Debt Service Fund.
Due to rising energy and fuel costs and the projected 25 percent increase in insurance premiums, the board is keeping a watchful eye on several of the funds, especially the Transportation Fund, Debt Service Fund and the General Fund.
Information provided to the corporation this week by Duke Energy projects energy cost increases of more than 19 percent until the end of 2006 and an additional 5 percent on top of that through spring 2007.
The projected $888,000 increase in utility and insurance costs for the upcoming school budget is an area of concern for Superintendent Dr. Dan Schroeder, who believes the board should start planning for the rainy days ahead.
"I plan on approaching the board in the future about this, but it really bothers me (the corporation) does not have a 'rainy day' fund," he said. "The board could take unused funds from areas and place them in a 'cushion fund,' then designate the money be used in areas of need, like necessary building projects or new equipment."