Clearfield School Board Approves Budget

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CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors finalized its 2013-14 general and subsidiary fund budgets without any property tax increase during Monday night’s regular board meeting.

The board unanimously approved the final general fund budget for $34,909,254; the Clearfield Area High School Additions & Renovations Project budget for $23,084,155; the Clearfield Elementary School Project budget for $9,200,000; and the Cafeteria Fund budget for $1,497,697.

At the request of board member Gail Ralston, the board voted separately on its final Capital Projects Fund budget. For the upcoming-year, the district has budgeted $738,803 for capital projects.

Business Administrator Sam Maney said these projects included roofing ($60,000) and parking lot ($11,000) repairs at the Clearfield Middle School and the replacement of the district’s box van ($35,000).

So far as athletics, Maney has budgeted the following: Bison Stadium Bleacher Project ($533,309); Swimming lane markers and storage reel ($7,200); Volleyball – standards, poles, net, ref chair ($2,500); Track hurdle carts ($2,800); and portable white fencing ($1,500).

Maney said the high school band needs rain gear and new uniforms. He told the board the band’s current uniforms are more than a decade old. However, he’s worked with the band department to spread these costs out over three years. In the upcoming-year, Maney said the band’s biggest need is for rain gear and its uniforms will be replaced over the course of 2014-15 and 2015-16.

After Maney reviewed the planned capital projects, Ralston explained she wanted this segment of the budget separated, as she hadn’t participated in the board’s previous discussions on the Bison Stadium Bleacher Project. The board approved the Capital Projects Fund budget with an 8-1 vote; Ralston cast the only opposing vote.

In other business, the board also approved the insurance coverage recommendations that were presented by Maney during last week’s committee meetings. Maney said although the district’s insurance costs have increased, they still fall well within the upcoming-year’s budget.

Maney said the district was able to keep the same carriers for its policies, which include: Commercial package, ACE USA, $69,997; Business Auto, ACE USA, $9,090; Excess Liability, Old Republic, $11,062; School Leaders Legal Liability, Old Republic, $15,421; Security & Privacy Liability, Underwriters at Lloyds; and Workers Compensation, Highmark, $170,047.

According to him, the district’s commercial package for buildings and workers compensation increased the most. More specifically he said renewal premiums increased by $18,839 for the workers compensation and by $11,182 for the commercial package.

As a result, Maney said the district’s total premium increased from $251,271 for the current-year to a renewal rate of $286,182. However, he said it’s still covered within the budget, as the district has allocated $298,069 for insurance purposes for 2013-14.

During his report, Bruce Nicolls, director of curriculum, instruction and federal programs, announced he’s working on completing the district’s federal funding application for the upcoming-year. He said its preliminary allocations were $741,462 for Title I and $194,200 for Title II.

Nicolls said the district’s Title I funding declined by approximately 10 percent, as he and Maney had anticipated during the budget process. He said its Title II funding was down by only 3 percent. Maney said the federal program cuts were covered within the upcoming-year’s budget, because they didn’t overestimate Title I and Title II revenues.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto also reported that the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) had released its official state revenue estimate for 2012-13. He said general fund revenues are estimated to be $28.734 billion, which is $144 million above that certified with the current-year’s budget. Otto said projected receipts are $153 million higher than the IFO’s initial May 1 estimate.

Otto hoped these “encouraging” numbers translated into the governor’s budget being passed by the end of this month. He said the district would get a small increase beyond what it had received from the state last year.

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