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Mabton School Board OK's leaner budget for 2012-13

MABTON - Dropping a school resource officer position, cutting two C squad coaching positions and not filling a vacant ASB advisor position are some of the cuts the Mabton School District will take to balance its budget for the 2012-13 school year.

That's according to a discussion and eventual action the school board took last night, Monday, during its regular monthly meeting.

During a budget study session prior to last night's regular meeting, Finance Director Gina Grow presented a plan that calls for spending $10.6 million this coming school year in the general fund, down about $100,000 from the previous year.

General fund monies cover day-to-day operations and represent about 90 percent of all expenditures in the district, said Grow. She said nearly three-quarters of the general fund costs are for staff salaries and benefits.

Other cuts on the table for 2012-13 include a transportation position, school-funded field trips and the traffic safety program.

Ironically, Mabton schools will spend less money in 2012-13, although the district will get more revenues than generated this past school year. Grow anticipates the district receiving $9.9 million in revenues, about $55,000 more than last year.

Despite receiving more and spending less, Mabton schools will still end up spending about $770,000 more than they take in during 2012-13.

In a summary Grow provided, the district will make up the difference by taking it out of the beginning fund balance. That means the ending balance for the general fund at the close of the 2012-13 budget year will be about $1.1 million.

That $770,000 to be spent in excess of revenue is actually an improvement, though, as Grow noted in 2011-12 the district spent $944,000 more than it brought in.

In approving a leaner budget than 2011-12, the Mabton School Board last night also followed Grow's recommendation to budget for a conservative enrollment figure of 889 students.

That 2012-13 estimate is lower than the 908 budgeted for the previous school year, and Grow says that's because enrollment dropped sharply over the last three months of the most recent school year.

Public schools, including Mabton, receive state funding based on average enrollment.

"This (past) year the enrollment just kept dropping," Grow told the board. "We just don't know what will happen next year."

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