Friday, March 18, 2011

Fruity Math

At the school board's work-study session on the 2011-12 budget March 16 (more on that to come) , we  were provided with the slide at right (fruit added for clarity).  
We THINK we know where Mr. Phil is going with this slide.  We also think that Mr. Jim (Seabass) suggested it.

The problem is that it's not just apples and's apples plus bananas get you tangeloes.  And that's borderline non-sense.
What they were TRYING to do, of course, is explain from where that 4.4% projected tax levy increase originates.  Last year's tax levy (general fund 10 + debt service levy) was $45.8M.  A 4.4% increase, then, would be about $2.0 M.  

Our debt service payment is increasing by about (gulp!) $1M next year....which means that roughly half of the 4.4% projected 2011-12 tax levy increase is coming directly from the High School/CHUMS construction.  Put another way, it means that without cuts and NO increased spending, we'd have a 2.1% increase to the tax levy just from debt service alone.  But that's where we move from the beaten path of Kansas to the yellow brick road on the way to Oz.

Enrollment = Revenue Limit, and that's NOT part of the budget.
The OTHER 2.3% is identified as "projected enrollment growth".  This has us scratching our heads because Mr. Frei has told us repeatedly that enrollment growth does not affect equalized aid from the state.  It is ONLY used to determine the revenue limit above which a district cannot spend. 

We THINK what they're trying to suggest is that new spending CAUSED by projected enrollment growth this fall will result in an additional 2.3% increase over the tax levy from last year.  2.3% of last year's $45.8M tax levy comes to $1,053,000.  We think that what this slide was trying to show was that a 4.4% increase to last year's tax levy is expected, with roughly half coming from additional debt service payments and half from costs incurred (e.g., new staff) associated with projected enrollment growth.

Of course, it's all smoke and mirrors until we follow the money trail and figure out what's happening with FUN Balance, the EdJobs Fund money, and all the resat of the cash in Phildough's OUR Dough pants.