The Duneland School
Corporation’s finances will be organized in a completely different way, per
state law, in 2019.
Officer Lynn Kwilasz gave a presentation on the 2019 budget for the Duneland
School Board’s meeting Monday night where she explained what the new laws
mandate and how the Board and the Business Office will go about fielding the
Currently, DSC has
six main funds to separate money for specific purposes: the general fund,
the capital projects fund, the transportation fund, the bus replacement
fund, the debt-service fund, and the referendum fund.
The general fund
covers salaries and benefits for most employees, professional development,
insurance, utilities, and instructional and maintenance supplies. It is
funded by state tuition support--which is doled out as a flat rate
per-student--alone. The general fund does not automatically benefit from
local property taxes, and general fund expenses can only be paid for with
local property taxes collected based on voter-approved referendum, per a
2008 change in state law.
The debt service
fund is used for the repayment of debt. The capital projects fund is used
for maintenance and repairs to buildings and equipment, some insurance and
utilities expenses, energy savings projects, technology hardware and
software, furniture, and technology support personnel salaries and benefits.
The transportation fund covers fuel, bus repairs, and salaries and benefits
for transportation employees. The bus replacement fund is used only for the
replacement of buses and special purpose vehicles. The referendum fund is
used for teacher salaries and benefits, compensation for nurses, aides,
media specialists, other student support personnel, professional
development, instructional technology, instructional supplies, and some
utilities. All five of these funds are funded by local property taxes.
Kwilasz said new
state laws HEA 1009 and HEA 1167 have changed how schools are allowed to
split their money between funds. Now, DSC will have to transition to having
only two main funds, which will be called the education fund and the
operations fund. The education fund is intended for expenses directly
related to students and instruction, and the operations fund catches nearly
everything else. The majority of the funds from the general, capital
projects, transportation, and bus replacement funds will go into one of
these two new funds. The referendum fund and the debt-service fund will
continue to stand alone. The food service fund will also remain independent.
Under the new
system, the education fund will be used for what the new laws define as
expenses related to “academic achievement” and “student support” in what the
law terms a “dollars to the classroom” approach. The education fund will be
funded from only state support, like the former general fund. The operations
fund will be used for all the expenses covered under the former capital
projects, transportation, and bus replacement funds plus what the laws
define as “overhead” and “non-operational” expenses from the former general
fund, which include salaries and benefits for the offices of the
superintendent and business and human resources offices, salaries and
benefits for custodians, and insurance and utilities. The operations fund
will be funded from a dedicated portion of the current state support
allowance and from local property taxes.
Kwilasz said the
Board will need to pass a resolution creating the new funds, then transfer
the money from the current funds into the new respective funds on Jan. 1.
will change in the following ways: updated software is required, any plans
for capital projects over $10,000 must be posted on the DSC website and
advertised in the newspaper for a hearing, and a five-year bus replacement
plan must be posted on the DSC website and advertised for a hearing in the
Kwilasz said the
merger of several funds was an attempt on the part of legislators to allow
some districts to be more flexible with their funds, but it also means
“careful long-range planning will be more important than ever.”
Kwilasz said the
marrying of so many funds into two allows a school system to overspend in a
certain area because the fund covering that expense contains money for
several purposes; however, problems will arise if the school system doesn’t,
or isn’t able to, adjust their budget for the following year to account for
the added expense.
Kristin Kroeger suggested that the Board may need to consider budgeting for
a longer term. She also asked Kwilasz what internal controls should be
established to help manage the new budget configuration. Kwilasz said she is
still mulling the details.
In other budget
business, the Board approved a $7,505 athletic equipment purchase for
Chesterton High School. The three purchases were $1,800 for an MDM laser
console for the training room, $3,800 for a golf cart with an extended bed,
and $1,905 for cheerleading competition mats.
The Board also
approved Policy 7441, which will govern the use of metal detectors for
personal searches in the spirit of the personal search policy, Policy 7440.
Duneland School Superintendent Dr. Ginger Bolinger said the new policy
establishes ground rules for the use of the 23 metal detectors DSC acquired
when Governor Eric Holcomb rolled-out a program earlier this summer to
improve school safety by outfitting schools with handheld metal detectors.
The basic text of Policy 7441 was taken from a template produced by the
School Board Association and reviewed by the Duneland School Board’s
attorney. DSC received its 23 metal detectors Friday.