School board to get first look at long-term budget proposals

Monday, February 13, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:27 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

More than $25 million in reserve funds could be depleted by 2009, according to a budget projection prepared by the Columbia Public School District. The current budget and projections will be presented to the Columbia School Board by Superintendent Phyllis Chase tonight.

It will be the first long-term view of the district’s reserves that the board will see this year, School Board President J.C. Headley said. After pulling from reserves for the last year and expecting to do so again in the coming year, Headley said members of the board were interested in seeing a projection of the long-term effects this would have on the district’s reserves.

The projection shows the deficit increasing by more than $2 million for the 2006 financial year and increasing over the next three years to be as much as $10 million by 2009. Paying off the deficit would reduce the district’s reserves from $31 million to $3 million in the same time span.

Headley said he is concerned about reserves falling because he does not want the district to have to borrow money. He also said that a lower reserve fund may affect interest rates at which the district can sell its bonds, which would decrease the money the district would make off such sales.

Tonight’s meeting will also have a series of budget amendments up for the board’s approval, and the board is scheduled to vote on a revised technology plan that would take the district through 2009. The board will also discuss whether to sell the remaining $10 million in bonds approved by voters in 2004.

The Columbia School Board will meet at 7 p.m. today in the Administration Building at 1818 W. Worley St.

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