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CAB Budget Hearing Set for This Tuesday
August 27, 2008 - The Charles A. Beard School Board will hold a public hearing on the school corporation's proposed budget for 2009 during a special meeting Tuesday evening.
CAB Superintendent Gary Storie gave a detailed presentation of next year's budget at the board's Aug. 12 special meeting. Working on his first budget since taking over the school corporation's top administrative post on July 1, Storie said the 2009 budget was drafted to be balanced and provide CAB with a greater cash balance in its General Fund by the end of 2009.
"The budget here has not been balanced for the last three years," Storie told the board and more than two dozen citizens in attendance.
Storie said the state recommends that school corporations have a year-end cash balance in their General Fund equal to seven to eight percent of that fund's budget, a practice he said is intended as insurance against "unknown variables" that might arise. While he said CAB's cash balance still will not be quite to that level by the end of 2009, he said it will be closer.
According to a graph Storie displayed on a projection screen, CAB's end-of-year cash balances in its General Fund have dropped the past two years, from $520,615 at the end of 2006, to $320,608 in 2007. At the end of this year, the cash balance is expected to be around $131,619, but would increase to $201,896 by the end of 2009.
The total budget amount proposed for 2009 is $14,552,499, up 15.6 percent from this year's $12,584,293 budget. The amounts budgeted for individual funds are as follows: General ($9,769,627); Debt Service ($2,711,533); Capital Projects ($1,094,398); Transportation ($743,191); Bus Replacement ($176,000); and Preschool Special Education $57,750).
The advertised budgets for five of CAB's six funds are higher than the 2008 amounts: General (up 10.6 percent); Debt Service (up 33.4 percent); Capital Projects (up 29.1 percent); Transportation (up 1.8 percent); and Bus Replacement (up 170.8 percent). The budget for the 2009 Preschool Special Education Fund is 25 percent lower than it was this year.
Storie noted that the amounts advertised for the 2009 budget are inflated in order to ensure CAB gets the maximum property tax levy available. He also said the budget is based on an assessed valuation of $283 million, which is about 5.8 percent below the current assessed valuation (AV) of $300,343,546.
Even though the 2009 budget, as advertised, is higher than that approved for 2008, Storie said there is expected to be a significant decrease in the school corporation's property tax rate. This is due to the fact that legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this year has eliminated property taxes as the revenue source for school corporation General Funds, shifting that burden, instead, to the state.
The largest line item in the 2009 General Fund budget is $1,785,247 for instruction at Knightstown High School. Instruction for CAB's elementary schools and KIS are budgeted at $1,676,015 and $1,515,365, respectively, with the next highest line item in the budget being $1,454,442 for building maintenance.
Part of the reason for the increase in the 2009 Debt Service Fund is due to the need to cover the $750,000-$800,000 CAB owes in back payments to a special education coop in New Castle. Storie revealed during his budget presentation that in 2007 CAB had stopped making its quarterly payments to the coop in a timely manner.
To address CAB's debt to the special ed co-op, Storie said the coop could file what he termed a "friendly" lawsuit against CAB and obtain a judgment for what is owed. CAB would then get a general obligations bond to cover the judgment, and repay what is owed on the bond through the Debt Service Fund in 2009 and 2010.
Noting there was less than a dollar in the Bus Replacement fund when he took over, Storie said CAB would not be buying a bus this year as had been indicated in the bus replacement plan submitted as part of the 2008 budgeting process. He said, however, that CAB hoped to replace two of its 27 buses in 2009.
Tuesday's public hearing on the 2009 budget will be held at 7 p.m in the media center at Knightstown High School, 8449 W. U.S. Hwy. 40, Knightstown. The school board is expected to vote on the budget adoption at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
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