SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County School District 2 board of trustees approved a budget for the upcoming school year that will closely resemble last year’s budget, with a few minor tweaks.
The total budget for fiscal year 2018-19 will be $66,566,809, with the general fund composing $50,000,809 of that number. The total is nearly identical to last year’s budget of $66,742,150, partly because of an enrollment increase of about 50 students.
SCSD2 business manager Eileen Bentley said the final budget turned out very similar to what she expected.
Instruction spending will increase from $31.544 million to $32.170 million, while instructional support spending will decrease from $5.768 million to $5.144 million, partly as a result of less spending on state assessments.
There will be a slight decrease in breakfast and lunch sales projections based on data from the past few years. Bentley said the district will focus on the challenging topic of increasing participation in school lunches, particularly at the high school level.
“This is an area we’re going to be looking at closely,” Bentley said.
The upcoming fiscal year will also mark the final one for the district’s early retirement fund, which decreased from $290,000 to $75,000.
The only specific cause for concern going forward is a special education cap passed by the Wyoming Legislature during its budget session in March. The cap limits special education reimbursement funding for school districts in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to not exceed reimbursements for 2018-19. If costs exceed the 2018-19 amount, school districts have to pay for them using their general education fund.
“That’s going to be really tricky,” Bentley said. “One child can make a huge difference on expenditure for a year, and it can vacillate enormously.”
Overall, Bentley said it is difficult for long-range, multi-year planning with significant uncertainty.
“This last legislative session was quite scary,” Bentley said. “The specter of budget cuts is always looming.”
• The board approved a school bus purchase and replacement. The new bus will be the district’s first with air conditioning. Though the state has a moratorium on school bus purchases, the cumulative repair costs for the old bus exceeded 20 percent of its original price — one of the exceptions to the moratorium — so the Wyoming Department of Education approved the purchase.
• The Sheridan High School Booster Club paid $8,500 for the installation of cameras and operating systems at the football field and gymnasium to broadcast athletic and academic events in the upcoming year.
• The board approved and ratified the land exchange agreement with Sheridan College to construct an eventual John C. Schiffer Collaborative School building.
• The board approved bids for Woodland Park Elementary School and Story school parking lot modifications to Simon Construction.
• In-Yarak Construction was approved to install curtains in the high school auditorium at a cost of $34,413.
• The SHS science wing renovation project was awarded to Arete Design Group.
• New gym lights at SHS were recently installed three weeks ahead of schedule.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Other area school districts also held their annual budget meetings Wednesday and approved budgets for the upcoming year. All three districts kept their budgets relatively similar to those of the previous fiscal year.
• The Sheridan County School District 3 2018-19 fiscal year budget will be $3.8 million, about the same as last year.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 8.
• The Sheridan County School District 1 2018-19 fiscal year budget is about the same as last year and will total $19,816,871. Total revenues will be $20,057,310. General fund expenditures will be just under $15 million, very similar to last year.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 21.
• The Northern Wyoming Community College District 2018-19 fiscal year total operating budget will be $29,956,000. That is up slightly from last year’s $29.1 million.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 15.