District over budget, confident | SteamboatToday.com

District over budget, confident

Economy has cost Steamboat $100K in expected interest revenue

Zach Fridell

School officials say the economic downturn has cost the Steamboat Springs School District $100,000 in expected interest revenue for the 2008-09 budget year, and caused several unexpected expenses that require passage of a supplemental budget.

Discussing the budget with the Steamboat Springs School Board during a Monday meeting, District Finance Director Dale Mellor reported that the district is slightly over budget for this time of year. He made clear he wasn’t concerned about the district’s overall fiscal health.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to balance this budget come January. I have absolutely no concerns whatsoever,” Mellor said.

Many of the budget items are not yet entered or balanced, including $16,000 in revenue from the Steamboat Springs Booster Club and projected revenue from full-day kindergarten tuition. Once those are entered and accounted for, Mellor said the problems would work out.

The board also approved, by a 4-1 vote, a supplemental budget for the district to cover overages. Those additional costs come from food services and interest paid on bonds used for construction budgets, among other items.

School Board President Robin Crossan voted against the supplemental budget because she wanted to have a chance to look over the numbers with Mellor.

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Mellor said supplemental budgets are customary and the district has made additions to the budget every year since he was hired.

Mellor said a small portion of the food services costs could have been caused by an increase in the quality in the food, but most of the expense was the result of rising transportation costs and basic food prices.

“The types of things that (Max Huppert, director of food services) is offering are, I think better, in my personal opinion,” Mellor said. “It’s just that the cost of food in general has gone up, and I don’t think Max has been doing anything extravagant to make the meals more expensive.”

One of the biggest increases came in the cost of milk, which was $30,000 over budget. Overall, the food service department was infused with $65,000 in additional funds. Mellor said he also expects to recoup most of those costs because the price of a school meal was increased for this school year.

Other major changes from the district budget include $223,780 spent on four new special education teachers and $281,970 saved from projected spending because the board is not buying out a superintendent contract this year.