Hays USD 489 school board members met with auditors at Monday evening’s school board meeting in an effort to sort out the district’s current budget problems and hear suggestions on how to start rebuilding the district’s contingency funds:
Superintendent Dean Katt said the district is $215,000 short after spending nearly $395,000 in contingency funds to make up for budget errors. Katt said some of the problems included a decline in enrollment, failing to budget for the cost of seventh-grade sports and the fact the district budgeted a 1 percent raise for employees instead of the actual 1.85 percent that was given.
Ken Beran of auditor Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball admitted school district budgets are as “difficult” as they come. USD 489’s budget has 20 different funding streams revenue, for example.
Because of the budget is so complicated and hard to decipher, board members asked for a simplified version of the budget and monthly updates.
“I have been on this board for six years. I have served on other boards. I can read a budget, and you can’t make head or tails out of this, and that’s why we were relying on one or two people’s word ,” said board member Darren Schumacher.
Beran agreed and suggested coming up with a monthly report that includes “actual expenditures year-to-date” in order to compare to the budget.
Board President Greg Schwartz pointed out members had asked the previous administrators for a similar report but were denied.
Superintendent Dean Katt said he would include the recommendation in the district’s strategic plan.
Katt also said he would like to see budget projections “be on the conservative side” as far as expenditures and enrollment.
Beran also said the board and administration needs to take a closer look at activity funds at each of the schools, as well as utility expenses and overtime pay.