Focus on Finance

Van Maanen, Sietstra, Meyer & Nikkel, PC, Certified Public Accountants today released an audit report on the Waukee Community School District in Waukee, Iowa. The District’s revenues totaled $102,296,848 for the year ended June 30, 2014, a 8.98% increase from the prior year.  Revenues included $44,483,899 in local tax; charges for service of $7,988,654; operating grants, contributions and restricted interest of $10,694,529; unrestricted interest of $95,798; and other general revenues of $39,033,968.Expenses for District operations totaled $92,822,358, a 10.24% increase from the prior year.  Expenses included $50,142,591 for instruction, $24,409,439 for support services, $5,999,968 for non-instructional services and $12,270,360 for other expenditures. A copy of the audit report is available for review in the District Secretary’s Office, in the Office of the Auditor of State and on the Auditor of State’s web site.

Keeping up with District Enrollment

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Waukee Community School District (WCSD) saw an increase of approximately 484.69 students on the count day, Oct.1, 2014. The funding for those students however, won’t be sent to the district until 2015-16. Currently WCSD is building Grant Ragan Elementary School (opening Fall 2016) to accommodate the growth. Grant Ragan is being paid with the General Obligation Bonds that the district patrons voted and approved in February 2014. Timberline, a $32 million project that will hous students in grades 8 and 9 will open the fall of 2015 and is being paid for with Sales Tax Revenue Bonds. The District will sell approximately $20 million in Sales Tax Revenue bonds to build the Waukee CAPS facility. Sales Tax Revenue Bonds do not affect the local tax rate. In the near future, the WCSD will be purchasing land for the second high school site as well as elementary #9.

Tax Rate and Supplemental State Aid

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Waukee Community School District is beginning the planning for the FY16 budget and to determine next year’s tax rate. A positive is that the District saw a growth in property valuation of 10%. That increase will help to spread the tax amount over more property tax payers. The district is waiting on the State to determine the supplemental state aid (SSA), formerly known as allowable growth. This, by law, is to be set within the first 30 days of the session. Gov. Terry Branstad did not give a percentage in his proposed budget, but rather denoted several allocations which equate to 1.25% for 2015-16 and 2.45 % for 2016-17.

We are currently in a wait and see mode before making major financial decisions for the 2015-16 school year. The 2015 legislative session has just recently begun and many issues that will impact K-12 public schools are being discussed. One of those topics is SSA for 2015-16. Supplemental state aid and student head count are the determining factors of a school budget. The only way a school’s budget increases from one year to the next is if there were more students than last year and if SSA increases. Currently each student is worth $6,366. The percentage of SSA is what determines if the $6,366 increases. This  is the basic formula as there are other calculations for special education students and other programs that are weighted that factor into the overall budget.

As a district, it is difficult to plan a budget until we have a set SSA amount. At 1.25% SSA, which is approximately $80 more per student, Waukee Community School District will run in the red. The district uses financial forecast planning models to determine a five year outlook. Built into that model are assumptions; some of those are the additional staff we need to accommodate student growth, salary increase of 3% and insurance increase of 7%, just to name a few. At 2% SSA the district was going to overspend for the next four years. At 3% the District would just barely run positive balances.

It’s easy to say- well then don’t overspend and cut back. Unfortunately you can only cut back on supplies so much, we have to buy diesel for the buses and to get any significant savings that means cutting people. The first option most people suggest it to cut administration. Currently the district ranks last among all districts in the state on the amount spent per pupil on administration. Administration plays a vital role in moving the district forward. The district currently spends approximately 67% of the total budget on salaries and benefits. That is lower that most metro area schools whose percentages are in the upper 70%. Teaching requires people.

If you would like to keep yourself aware of legislation that affects public schools go to www.legis.state.ia.us, enter the bill number in the box in the upper right-hand corner of the page and click Go.

Representatives

Senators

Dist. Name Dist. Name
19 Ralph Watts 10 Jake Chapman
44 Rob Taylor 22 Charles Schneider

Fund Explanations
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560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701