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Monday, May 2, 2016

Spending up in school corporation

Friday, February 8, 2008

The North Clay Middle School Media Center was silent Thursday night after Clay Community Schools Business Manager Mike Fowler gave his annual financial report during the monthly school board meeting.

Fowler said the past eight weeks have been the busiest weeks he's had in his time in the business office.

The presentation covered cash balances, revenue, taxes, expenditures and the health insurance program, which was instituted in January.

Fowler started explaining the accounts of the corporation by looking at the cash balances. He described the balances as "snapshots" of where the corporation is, because money is dispersed into these accounts only twice a year and must be used to cover all costs.

As of Dec. 31, 2007, the general fund held just over $5 million dollars, the debt service had $104,487.07, capital projects had just under $2 million, transportation and bus replacement both have about $1 million and pre-school special education has $456,794.47.

In total, the corporation has $12 million in cash reserves, which are maintained as a way to prevent the corporation from going into debt from any emergency or unexpected needs.

Because the cash balance is always fluctuating, revenue and expenditure analysis is a better tool for planning for the future.

In 2007, the corporation's revenue increased by .47 percent ($175,892) from 2006, but the growth was much slower.

From 2003-06, the corporation averaged a revenue increase of 1.9 percent ($493,604) every year.

In 2008, the corporation is expecting more grant money, but Fowler said he is worried about the economy and proposed tax reforms affecting the available funds.

Another concern to Fowler is the large amount of tax revenue that should have been collected but was not. The corporation expected $384,389 more than what was received, including $153,160 which was supposed to go into the general fund.

In contrast, the corporation spent $916,916 more than it did in 2006. Salary expenditure went up 3.21 percent and fringe benefits went up 10.01 percent, including a 16.48 percent increase in health insurance costs.

In total, 95.14 percent of the general fund was spent on salaries and benefits.

When the board passed the High Deductible Health Plan and the Health Savings Account for non-teaching staff, the corporation became one of the largest employers in the state to have two insurance models.

According to Fowler, switching to the HDHP and HSA plan has saved the corporation and its employees money, but it is not enough to counteract the cost of the Indiana State Teachers Association's plan to the corporation.

The board has limited the raise in rates by switching carriers as bids are received, but Fowler stated the increases in health insurance are "unsustainable."

It is estimated in 2009, an ISTA family account will cost the same as a first-year teacher's monthly salary, roughly $2,600.

Fowler thanked his team for putting together the report while updating accounting software and working through the HSA implementation.

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