Following a budget hearing last night, Thursday, the Sunnyside School Board approved an $86.5 million budget for the 2011-12 school year.
Of that amount, $61.7 million is for the general fund, which covers day-to-day expenses for the district.
Another $21.6 million makes up the capital projects fund, which will cover the high school remodeling project that is still a year away from total completion.
The budget includes withdrawing $3 million from general fund reserves to cover expenses.
That still leaves the district with a starting balance of $5 million in the general fund, just within the board's policy of having 8 percent of expenditures in reserve.
Highlights of the 2011-12 budget include:
- The state funding decrease of 1.9 percent for school staff actually worked out to about a 1 percent pay cut because the step increases staff receive based on length of service were maintained.
- Likewise, the state's 3 percent decrease for administrative staff only worked out to a 1 percent pay cut because step pay increases were kept in place.
- The Sunnyside School District having a student enrollment of 6,191 for the 2011-12 school year, 241 more students than last year. Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said the estimate is conservative.
- The $61.7 million general fund budget is almost $2 million less than last year.
- General fund revenues are budgeted to drop from $66 million in 2010-11 to $62.3 million for the 2011-12 school year. That includes the loss of federal stimulus money.
When it came time to approve the 2011-12 budget, only two of the five board members, Steve Carpenter and Lorenzo Garza Jr., could vote on the entire budget due to conflict of interest issues.
Prior to voting on the budget, board members Rocky Simmons, Miguel Puente and Michelle Perry all recused themselves from voting on various parts of the budget because they have family members who work for the school district.