Rolla 31 School District will continue dipping into reserves for fiscal year 2014-2015, the Rolla Board of Education heard Thursday night.

Rolla 31 School District will continue dipping into reserves for fiscal year 2014-2015, the Rolla Board of Education heard Thursday night.
“We are planning to deficit spend,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis said.
Using reserves to get through uncertain times allows the district to continue with its planned projects and also attract and retain quality teachers, Zalis told the board, reminding the directors that the school district has not had a levy increase for some 13 years while maintaining its ranking high in the “Camdenton salary review.”
“We’re in good shape,” said Zalis.
Planning for the fiscal 2015 budget has started with meetings between the administration and the Rolla Community Teachers Association’s Salary and Welfare Committee.
Thursday night, district Finance Director Vicki Gorman gave a summary of the budget process, including current legislation for statewide education funding.
She noted that at the last meeting, purchases of supplies, textbooks and equipment were approved. The building and grounds budget will be presented at the second April meeting. Then in the first meeting in May, the board will hear recommendations regarding the salary schedule. By law, the budget must be adopted by the end of June.
While all this budget planning is going on, the school officials don’t know for sure how much money they will have available from the state, which provides more than one-third of the district’s operating revenue.
Gorman said there are two views about the amount of money that will be available, one from Gov. Jay Nixon and the other from the state Legislature. The governor estimates 5.2 percent revenue growth for the state budget while the Legislature projects 4.2 percent growth. Because of this, there are two estimates for the amount to be received from the state through the foundation formula.
Gorman said fiscal year 2012 ended with unrestricted fund balances of 39.15 percent while the next year those fund balances were 36.80 percent. The current year, fiscal 2014, is budgeted to end with 29.85 percent, but it is likely the year will end with more money in the balances than budgeted.
Gorman said the district tends to have lower-than-expected expenses due to conservative budgeting.
In other business or discussion:
• the board heard a presentation from the Rolla Technical Institute’s Building Trades Group, illustrated with slides projected on the screen showing students working on projects, primarily the ranch home at Lot 21 of Palmer Court.
• The board watched the Missouri School Boards Association’s Monthly Board Report.
• A shared use agreement between the school and the city for a school resource officer and crossing guards was approved.
• There was brief discussion regarding early childhood education and the comprehensive school improvement plan.
• Student representative Sofia Luna updated the board on school activities.
• The board commented on Gov. Jay Nixon’s visit to Rolla High School Wednesday, April 2.