School’s tax asking take a jump

Perkins County School Superintendent Phillip Picquet hopes he never has to propose another budget like the one this year. 

The tax request for the school’s general budget increased by $420,548 this year compared to last. That represents a 7.44%.

After the school addition was paid off through the school’s building fund, less money was budgeted, to the point where just $17,000 was put into the building fund. 

Now the school is faced with some major roof repairs, replacement of the activities bus and other long-range maintenance needs. 

As a result, Picquet said more money was needed in the building fund going forward to meet those needs. 

As a result, the building fund tax request went from last year’s $17,000 to $252,525. That, combined with the general budget increase, represented a 11.56% jump in tax askings for the 2020-21 budget year. 

Picquet and his board met in special meetings just to address the budget. He reviewed it with them again during the budget hearing at last week’s monthly board meeting. 

While the numbers concerned board members, they approved the budget as proposed.

Picquet said several factors played into the increase in the general budget request. 

Health insurance proved to be a big item— an increase of nearly $240,000 this year alone, he said.

The cost for a wide ranges of special education services, provided by ESU 16, increased 9% this year.

The district’s workman’s  comp insurance and building insurance jumped $32,000, he added. 

With the uncertainty of the economy, budget advisors to Picquet said the district also needs to build it’s cash reserve. 

They recommend at least three months of accounts payable, which equates to $1.7 million. It’s currently just over a million. 

That can present a problem when tax money is slow to come in, he noted. 

He said he is looking for savings anywhere he can find it. He estimated that switching to three feeder bus routes versus five will save $40-50,000 this year due to fewer drivers and lower fuel costs.


The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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