Base student allocation increased by $50 per student
The School Board met again after a one-month summer break on Tuesday evening, but they picked back up where they left off in June, talking about the budget.
“I feel like that’s all I’ve talked about for six months, since I walked into this thing, is money, money, money,” Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter said at the start of her report to the board.
She and Finance Director Karen Quitslund had mostly good news to report regarding some loose ends that had been tied up by the legislature during the board’s June break.
In particular, the legislature voted to keep the current base student allocation in House Bill 278, which includes a built-in increase of $50 per student.
“So this year we’ll receive $5,880 per adjusted student allocation,” Quitslund said.
Kludt-Painter said the legislature ordered a formal review of the BSA formula to ensure it was optimal. Despite ongoing concerns such as sufficient allocation of funds for special needs students and means of accounting for changes in student numbers during the year, the study concluded the current formula is sufficient.
“Basically what they came to find is that they feel like it’s a pretty well thought out formula all in all,” she said.
Not seemingly good news at first, the legislature did not approve a three-year phasing of funds for capital. Petersburg schools received $195,000 in capital funds last fiscal year and would have received $149,000 this year if the legislature had approved the funding. The silver lining is that the staff anticipated the legislature’s move and did not budget for the funds.
“We’re lucky we came in right where we thought we would,” Quitslund said.
Kludt-Painter said though money has been a dominant theme during her tenure as superintendent and during a summer of behind-the-scenes meetings, she feels the local schools are in good shape.
“We’re fortunate because we are not in dire straits in our district,” she said. “We’re not facing huge layoffs and cutting arts. We’re in a pretty good position, and I think it’s a chance for us to be really creative and forward thinking.”