The Rolla Board of Education Thursday evening approved a budget that calls for spending $4.3 million more than it will collect in tax money and other sources next fiscal year.
Despite that, the school district expects to end that fiscal year on June 30, 2018, with a healthy balance of $17.67 million in all funds.

The Rolla Board of Education Thursday evening approved a budget that calls for spending $4.3 million more than it will collect in tax money and other sources next fiscal year.
Despite that, the school district expects to end that fiscal year on June 30, 2018, with a healthy balance of $17.67 million in all funds.
Most important, the operating fund balance is expected to be $10.4 million this time next year. That’s an unrestricted fund balance of 24.12 percent, well above the level of 17 percent that would make the administration and board start worrying. Many school districts have unrestricted fund balances in single digits.
Moreover, the budgets presented by school  Finance Director Vicki Gorman in the past have always been written conservatively when it comes to estimating revenues and expenses. Her budgets end in reality with unrestricted fund balances several percentage points higher than budgeted.
Thursday night’s adoption of the fiscal 2018 budget brought to an end a process that started months ago.
“Most of the components of the budget have already been approved,” she said, noting that the board had already approved a salary recommendation, supplies, building and grounds spending and other planned expenses. Just a little before her presentation, the board had approved spending for new science textbooks.
In her presentation, Gorman opened by covering the various ways the budget supports the comprehensive school improvement plan. She also reviewed the steps taken to get to the final document began with a series of meetings and other reviews of the previous budget and expectations for the future.
Rolla school budgets have four funds: the incidental or operating fund, the special  or teachers fund, the debt service fund and the capital projects fund.
The total amount of revenue for all those funds is expected to be $43,130,289.
Added to that will be the total of all four fund balances, bringing the total available to $65,118,578.
Total expenses across all four funds are expected to be $47,457,695/
The deficit will be $4,324,406, leaving an estimated balance of $17,663,883.
Board member Jim Packard spoke after the vote about the deficit, acknowledging that district patrons will be concerned about the deficit spending. But he and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis emphasized the board and administration had budgeted frugally in years when state tax money was more forthcoming.
Top three sources of revenue for the district ad local property taxes, the state foundation formula and Proposition C sales tax.
Gorman said the estimated assessed valuation of property within the borders of the school district is $401,056,415. Based on that, the budgeted operating levy is $3.2154. That should bring in  $12,478,500.
The state foundation formula, a complicated system involving weighted average daily attendance and a state adequacy target, plus a dollar value modifier, is expected to provide the school district with $15,080,120.
Proposition C is budgeted to bring in $3,866,100..
The incidental or operating fund includes support staff salaries and benefits, utilities, food purchases, supplies, textbooks, property and liability insurance. Revenue for fiscal year 2018 is expected to be $17,549,933. It was $17,552,716 this year.
The special or teachers fund includes certificated salaries and benefits and tuition paid to other districts. Revenue for the coming fiscal year is set at $23,441,746. It was $22,627,703 this fiscal year.
The deft service fund includes payments of interest and principal on bond issues. It is estimated to be $1,294,155 for fiscal 2018. It was $1,283,310 this fiscal year.
The budgeted debt service levy is 25 cents.
The capital projects fund includes spending for capital items exceeding $1,000, equipment, facility construction and major repairs. The amount budgeted for that fund is $844,455 in fiscal 2018; it was $980,674 this year.
There is also a temporary building fund that had $6,000 this year but with a final payment will go to zero for next fiscal year.
Those revenues by fund add up to $43,130,289 for fiscal 2018; they were $42,450,403 this fiscal year.
In her budget message, Gorman noted the following:
* To recruit and retain the best possible staff, base salaries were increased by the board by one and half percent. The budget reflects an increase in teacher bas pay to $35,775. Eligible teachers will also receive a step increase on the salary schedule.
* The budget includes a 10 percent increase for health insurance costs.
* Voters approved a $4 million bond issue in April 2015 for a classroom addition to Rolla High School. The budget also includes $1,087,600 to complete the building project.
* Voters in April 2015 also authorized a tax levy increase of 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation. That was put in place in phases, and the last 5-cent phase of that will be collected this year and included in the fiscal 2018 budget.
* The high school addition is the result of the decision by the board, and approved by voters when they adopted the bond and levy in 2015, to add early childhood education at the elementary schools. That will result in additional faculty and support staff salaries: Gorman said three pre-kindergarten teachers, three early childhood special education teachers and seven teacher aides have been added. A the high school, positions added include an administrator, custodian and nurse.