In less than a
year, the Duneland School Corporation will successfully pay off its pension
debt and the debt from the general obligation bond that allowed the
Corporation to build on to Liberty Elementary.
The debt service
will be paid off in December while the pension debt will be paid off next
December, according to Duneland Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz. What
remains though is the common school loan of $580,900 the Schools acquired
this year to fund its one-to-one school initiative that puts tablet devices
in the hands of students to access digital course materials. That will be
paid off in about five years.
“We are marching
our way through our debt. All our debt will be paid off at the end of 2022,”
Kwilasz told the Duneland School Board at its meeting Monday to review the
2018 proposed budget for the schools.
advertised total figure for the budget will be $69,958,347, which is $2.6
million higher than what was advertised for 2017.
The amount for Debt
Service in the 2018 advertised budget is $7.8 million and School Pension
Debt is $742,000.
The general fund,
which is the largest fund and is determined by the State’s school funding
formula, is at $39.1 million in the 2018 budget. It’s been steadily climbing
for the past few years since the State took over the general fund in 2009
and made cuts to operating costs.
Kwilasz said the
State’s per pupil basic funding support for public schools will increase to
$5,273 in fiscal year 2018, compared to $5,088 per student for FY 2017.
State legislators increased funding to schools in their two-year budget
passed this year in the Statehouse.
enrollment, according to preliminary figures, is about 5,900 students,
Kwilasz said. That’s about 50 more than the count for last year. An increase
in enrollment means the schools will receive more per pupil funding through
the Average Daily Membership (ADM) count in the granting formula.
The State’s day to
collect ADM counts is the second Friday after Labor Day, which means this
year it will fall on Sept. 15.
legislative changes made this year will return the state to the former
method of ADM counts. The fall count will be the only used for basic support
and grant funding, rather than the spring count. There will be a spring
count on Feb. 1 next year, but it will be used for information purposes
only, she said.
“Anybody who has
been here for a while knows that’s how it used to be,” Kwilasz said.
reviewed the Schools’ Capital Projects Fund and Bus Replacement Fund which
are determined by the local tax levy.
Projects Fund, which pays for buildings and grounds maintenance, technology,
software, equipment and staff involved with technology, will be advertised
at $9.5 million, but Kwilasz said she expects to receive a little under $9
million when the budget is approved.
overstate the estimated figures to protect the rate so we can get the most
dollars from our levy,” she said.
The 2017 budget was
advertised at $9.1 million and is expected to grow over the next three
years. The largest expenditure in the 2018 CPF budget is Building
Acquisition, Construction and Improvement at $2.9 million.
assessed value for 2018 increased by 1.1 percent this year which affects the
tax levy and the tax caps, impacted by all the taxing units within the
Because the AV
increased, the CPF fund, as well as all levied funds, will all receive less
negative tax cap impact. The tax cap impact, which lowers the total amount
of funding, is estimated at $300,000 for 2018 compared to $450,000 in 2017.
The 2018 estimated tax cap impact for the Bus Replacement Fund is $30,000.
Last year’s was $34,000.
The property tax
cap credit for Duneland overall, estimated by the State, is $711,230 for
2018 and was $1.6 million in 2017’s estimated budget.
Duneland plans to
replace eight buses next year, with an estimated $826,130 in its Bus
Replacement Fund. Kwilasz said the Transportation Department determines how
many new buses it needs and asked the public to realize that not all buses
last up to 12 years due to hazards like snow and salt corrosion in the
Corporation maintains 89 buses and has $982,000 currently in its cash
balance for bus replacement.
Also advertised in
the 2018 proposed budget is the Transportation Operations Fund at $4.3
million and the School Referendum Fund at $7.6 million. Kwilasz said that
the Referendum Fund is not affected by tax cap losses.
Voters within the
Duneland School District in 2012 approved a tax rate of 22 cents per $100 of
assessed value to support the schools in times of funding cuts from the
state. The referendum rate is in effect until 2019.
The School Board
will hold a public hearing for the levied funds -- Referendum, Capital
Projects, Transportation Operation and Bus Replacement -- on Tuesday, Sept.
19, at 6 p.m., at the Duneland Administration Center.
The legal notice
for the hearing will be published in the Chesterton Tribune on
Friday, Sept. 8, Kwilasz said.
estimated levy to be advertised is $28.3 million.