Columbia School Board approves $181.4 million budget

Thursday, June 27, 2013 | 7:02 p.m. CDT; updated 7:36 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board voted 6-0 to approve the district's 2013-14 budget at its special session Thursday morning.

What happened

After a brief presentation on budget amendments by Linda Quinley, chief financial officer for the district, the six present board members voted to pass the budget. Board member Jan Mees was unable to attend the meeting.

Superintendent Chris Belcher originally presented the $181.4 million budget to the board June 20. It is an 8.2 percent increase in total spending over the 2012-13 budget. His report to the board noted that the district now has to rely more on local revenue because state funds have declined. 

The budget shows revenue for next fiscal year at $177 million, which means the district will have to draw from its reserves for about $4.4 million in fiscal year 2013-14. The fiscal year starts July 1.

Budget highlights include:

  • $248,093 for an asphalting project at Rock Bridge High School and the Columbia Area Career Center and also for the new Hickman High School gymnasium complex. The complex, built last year, is where some career center classes will take place.
  • $2.4 million for salaries, with all salary schedules operating normally.
  • 16 additional teachers and specialists to accommodate class sizes and enrollment growth in elementary schools.
  • $35,000 for new summer school programs.

The board also discussed working with Landmark Bank so schools can use wireless devices at athletic events to accept debit and credit cards instead of only cash payments. Board President Christine King mentioned using the devices as a solution to declining gate revenue at sporting events.

Belcher said the district has done a lot of work to make sure the final numbers in the budget are accurate and precise.

"I think we're proud to make a budget that allows us do our reorganization, to staff our schools at an appropriate level and to have a good five-year projection and outlook," he said.

What's next

The board will not meet again until its special session at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 22 at the Neil C. Aslin District Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.

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