TCU approves 2014 budget

The Tri-City United School Board approved next year’s budget at its regular meeting, Monday, June 24.

Robin Pikal, the district’s business manager, presented projected numbers that ended with the 2013 year and the proposed budget that began July 1.

In her summary, Pikal noted the increases in the district’s general fund expenditures of $496,000 from 2013 to 2014 due to a 9.9 percent increase in health and property insurance premiums, contract settlements and the addition of ALP programming.

Former Superintendent Matt Helgerson emphasized that the majority of this was due to the settlement and merging of teacher contracts for Montgomery-Lonsdale and Le Center to the TCU District.

The board approved a projected general fund balance of $3.1 million, down from 2013’s total of $3.6 million. Despite the slight decrease, Helgerson called the balance “very healthy for a district our size.”

He also said the district is spending down some of its general fund balance but warned that the total is higher than anticipated due to staff adjustments and operating levies.

Pikal also noted that the revenues had decreased for the general fund from last year due to the state aid allocation, formula levy funding and other state fundings. However, the district received an increase in its formula allowance from $5,224 to $5,302 from state legislature’s last session.

In other funds’ totals Pikal noted there was an increase in the community service fund revenues of $13,000, which helped offset the increase in costs due to hiring a full-time community education director.

The approval of all of the  funds (general, food service, community service, building and debt) came at $14.5 million projected for the next fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2014.

Pikal said although the district has a stronger fund balance the district needs to find its threshold limit for expenses for future years.

“Now that we have our first year under our belts, we can begin comparing previous years,” she said.

Board chair Liz Krocak reminded everyone that the district’s healthy fund balances only proved what they had told voters prior to the consolidation of the two school districts.

“We are stronger financially together than we were apart,” she said.