At Monday’s Wabash City Council meeting, Matt Stone, business manager for Wabash City Schools (WCS), presented their 2020-2021 budget.
The estimated school operations maximum levy was $1,890,689 and the property tax cap credit estimate was $553,570.
The debt service budget estimate was $1,667,000. The maximum estimated funds to be raised (including appeals and levies exempt from maximum levy limitations) was $2,192,910. The current tax levy was $1,395,188. The levy percentage difference was 57.18 percent.
The education budget estimate was $9,865,250.
The operations budget estimate was $3,555,906. The maximum estimated funds to be raised (including appeals and levies exempt from maximum levy limitations) was $1,890,689. The excessive levy appeals were $70,108. The current tax levy was $1,606,983. The levy percentage difference was 17.65 percent.
In all, the total budget estimate was $15,088,156. The total maximum estimated funds to be raised (including appeals and levies exempt from maximum levy limitations) was $4,083,599. The total excessive levy appeals were $70,108. The total current tax levy was $3,002,171.
Stone said the amount of money they receive each year from the state was based upon the number of enrolled students. Stone said he based the budget numbers on having 1,475 students.
“It looks like we’re going to have within five of that. So, I got really lucky actually, because that’s a crapshoot guessing how many kids you’re going to have. We ended last spring before COVID hit at 1,477 that’s why I projected that,” said Stone.
Stone said the operations budget was where shortfalls occurred in the past because they were reverted to the levy from the year before. Stone said they now got to go back to the max levy.
Stone said the trouble was in the $553,570 property tax cap credit
“Which is huge for a school corporation of our size. There’s not very many schools that get hit like we do. Just as a point of reference, MSD and Manchester (Community Schools) will lose less than $100,000,” said Stone.
Stone said this shortfall would have to come out of the operations budget.
“We’ve got to scramble, figure out how to save it. People ask me how we do that. We haven’t replaced any flooring in our school corporation in 10 years. Because it looks OK and if you don’t have the money to replace it, what do you do, right? We’re way behind on where we’re supposed to be on replacing carpet and replacing stuff in our offices and the library and the elementary classrooms,” said Stone.
Stone said they had no choice but to pay for line items like custodians, utilities and insurance.
“It’s really that capital kind of stuff like building improvements, and carpeting and roofs,” said Stone. “We didn’t cut any positions.”
Monday’s presentation was the official public hearing date. The adoption date has been set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Wabash City Hall.