The first major report that is due in September is called the Certified Annual Report (CAR). The CAR is a breakdown of all revenues, expenditures, and balances across the board in all of our accounts. This report is where we pull an abundance of our financial information from.
The next major report that we have due is our Certified Enrollment report, which is due on October 15th. This is the document where we report our enrollment for the year, and it is this number with which the state calculates the funding we receive. Each year a specific date is set, and the number of students enrolled on that day is used in the calculations. This year, Monday, October 3rd, 2016, was the date we use for count. From the 3rd through the 15th we spend a large amount of time having staff members go over their class lists to ensure that we have all of our students listed, going back through to ensure that students are either our students or are open enrolled in, and verifying numbers of students who attend other districts through open enrollment out, being tuitioned out, or are enrolled elsewhere due to a consortium type of agreement. (Yes, this gets confusing!)
Our Certified Enrollment in October of 2014 was 641. In October of 2015, that number dropped to 602, and has now dropped to 592. Over the past 2 years we have lost 49 students, which is equivalent to a loss of roughly $327,222 from our general fund budget over that same time period. This loss of enrollment is not unique to North Butler, and I believe is a direct result of the current state of our economy. We have families that have been affected by layoffs at John Deere, Unverferth, Terex, AIC, and numerous other places as the poor farm economy continues to trickle down through local businesses.
When I arrived at North Butler Community Schools in July of 2014, the general fund had a negative unspent balance, which meant that the district had spent roughly $213,773 more than the state allowed. At that time the Board made some difficult decisions. Those decisions have allowed us to gain some breathing room as far as the general fund budget goes. At the end of FY 15 (June 30, 2015) North Butler had an unspent balance of roughly $281,949. At the end of FY 16 (June 30, 2016) our projected unspent balance at this time (not final until the Department of Education says it is) is in the neighborhood of $670,200. For a district our size, that is very close to where the IA Association of School Boards suggests we should be (10% of our budget which is about $7,000,000).
Due to the actions taken by the board during the 14-15 school year, we do not have to look at drastic actions to make ends meet at this time due to our declining enrollment numbers. If that were not the case, we would most likely be looking to reduce our expenditures by roughly $450,000 for next school year. As things currently lie, I believe that we are sitting much better financially as a district. We may have a slight dip in our unspent balance this year (FY 17) due to purchasing new curriculum, venturing into the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) program, adding an elementary counselor, and making other purchases that had been put off far too long. Projections, however, show at the current time that this should be short lived as long as we are careful with expenditures, and that we should gain again in our unspent balance in FY 18.
Programs and Facilities
You will notice that we continue to work on our facilities and are constantly striving to improve what we do in the classroom. As funds allow, we will continually proceed to improve and ensure that we are doing all we can to keep our facilities in good working order.
As most of you know, this was the first year that North Butler Community Schools FFA/Ag department had a test plot. This was just at 2 acres, was planted to beans, and harvested at just over 70 bushels per acre.
With the storms that occurred at the end of September, the school property did receive some minimal damage, all of which occurred at the North Butler Athletic Complex in Greene. There were 13 trees that were either uprooted or broken off, lights were turned on the light poles and will need to be re-aimed, a hole was torn in the track from the trees falling, and some fiberglass panels were torn from the top of the track shed. All of the repairs should take place yet this fall.
We have also done some work on the football field area in Allison. We removed the metal railing from around the inside and outside of the track for safety purposes as it was sticking up, and this also makes it easier to mow. We will most likely remove the light poles also, as the lights no longer all function properly.
The staff at North Butler Community Schools would like to thank all of those volunteers who graciously gave of their time, effort, or supplies/equipment during the sandbagging and cleanup operations in Greene. It makes us all proud to be in such caring communities where everyone will step up and help a neighbor, regardless of their personal circumstances. Volunteer Fire Departments and EMS crews from Allison, Bristow, Greene, and as far away as Coulter worked tirelessly in assisting to save as much as they could. Students from Riceville, Osage, and West Fork worked together to help clean up. Thank you to all involved!
Proud of Who We Are and What We Do! #ItsGreatToBeABearcat