The Hudson Board of Directors met in a regular meeting on Monday evening. The meeting began with a hearing for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget. We are very pleased that the tax rate for next year has been set at $16.48, which is a decrease from $16.89. There was some time for reflection in regard to our current financial position compared to where we were one year ago. Last year we were faced with significant budget cuts and the very real possibility that we were going to overspend our Maximum Authorized Budget. Fortunately we lived through the budget cuts and were able to stave off a negative unspent balance. Indeed this is good news, but we must ensure that we don't take this reprieve as a license to begin the cycle anew. We need look no further than to our older sibling to the North (UNI) to be reminded of these painful, uncomfortable, and heart wrenching decisions. It makes me squirm in my seat just thinking about it!
While our financial position is improving, we would be wise to continue our practice of fiduciary restraint. As President Griffith remarked on Monday evening, this is a big ship, one that doesn't turn on a dime. We are slowing turning the boat around, but it takes time and can't be done immediately. We have a lot of work to do. (As a Navy veteran, I truly appreciated the metaphor!) There are no looming cuts this year, our unspent balance is no longer in free fall, and the tax rate is down. Great news, but let's not forget what had to happen to get us to this point.
As a matter of fact, let's consider briefly where we are going. Our graduating class is over 70, and our incoming kindergarten class of roughly 50. Simple math tells us that we will have a declining enrollment next year, which means a shrinking budget. Our unspent balance is increasing, but is still well below acceptable levels. Case in point: budget cuts were made when our unspent balance was $210,000. For the year ending June 30, it dropped to $90,000. We expect this year to end at approximately $147,000.
I am optimistic we will get where we need to be. Critical conversations and fiscal restraint will continue. A big ship indeed!
|Progress continue on the concession stand expansion and |
renovation last week during spring break. Thanks to
Hudson Hardware Plumbing and Heating and numerous
volunteers who are working hard to ensure completion
for our first track meet on April 5!
In other news, the Board took action on some capital improvement projects that we intend to have completed this summer. Please remember, that these projected are funded through our building improvement funds, which are categorical monies illegal to use for regular operating expenses. Sometimes folks will wonder why we can spend $300,000 for a building improvement project while talking about cuts at the same time. The answer is because we are using different funds that have different legal requirements for usage.
Phase two of the elementary electrical upgrade will be completed this summer by Champan Electric. Chapman received the contract with a low bid of $51,995. After this project is finished, our district classrooms will be equipped as a 21st Century rooms, with the ability to handle the electrical requirements of additional computers and electronic devices.
The biggest project set for completion this summer is the construction of the high school parking lot. A long time coming, the original concept was to do this with the completion of the high school project. PCI had the lowest bid of $244,894.75.
Both projects are slated for completion before school resumes in the fall.