Budgeting and funds were a key theme during the MUSD Governing Boarding meeting Wednesday.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman went into the district’s “Administrative Budget Recommendation.” That helped develop the district’s strategic plan that had begun approximately a year ago and has been the focal point of business practices carried out in the school district. The goal presented had an emphasis on customer service, well-kept facilities and effective communication.

Business Director Jacob Harmon explained projections for the 2019-20 fiscal year, saying funding fees will be based on next year’s ADM through the 100th day of instruction. ADM, meaning Average Daily Membership (number of students in public education), in Harmon’s presentation was cited as being based on “estimated and projected assumptions.”

Harmon presented data from the 2018-19 fiscal year when ADM was at 6,832. For the coming school year, the number of children is expected to be calculated at 7,213, an increase of about 400. This calculation is achieved by a base-level amount that is provided with data from the Arizona Legislature.

As all factors for budgeting are applied, Harmon presented approximately $50 million estimated for the 2019-20 general budget, which has increased from the $47 million budget last fiscal year. The slideshow brought up specific mandatory increases for next year, including minimum wage increase, election costs and an increase to state retirement.

More recent expenses in the upcoming school year bring the cost of new portable classrooms at the overcrowded high school into play. The next half of mobilization plus the first year of a three-year lease comes out to around $870,000, not including the almost $80,000 worth of furniture and technology added to them.

“I am so happy to see that we’re investing in our staff as far as making sure that they have computers that are up to date,” Board Member Torri Anderson stated when talking about transparency in the budgets and purchasing new computers for all staff on a lease basis.

“I’d like to see us lease school buses so that we’re constantly updating our fleet,” she said.

Anderson requested a list for a future meeting of more avenues to begin leasing more up-to-date equipment, appliances, electronics and vehicles. This would also save money in these large, commercial purchases, she said.

The topic of grant money and the transfer to a new fiscal year was also discussed, all board members requesting documentation of where the money specifically is being allocated, leading into more talk of leased items as opposed to large, hefty purchases. Overall, the budgeting and recommendations follow tight calculations for the Governing Board to deliberate and illuminate exactly where tax money and grants are being spent transparently.

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