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Balanced budget unveiled at Medina school board meeting

Special to the Courier

A preliminary and balanced budget for the 2014-15 academic year was unveiled during a workshop at the Medina ISD Board of Trustees meeting.
"Our income equals our expenses. I consider that a healthy budget," Superintendent Dr. Jack Cockrill said of the preliminary budget presented at the May 12 meeting.
The preliminary budget for the next year includes a total of $3,292,000 in revenues and $3,292,000 in expenses.
The budget also includes a $100,000 transfer to the fund balance, which Cockrill estimated will hit $400,000 by the end of the next fiscal year.
"We're definitely on the right track," he said, explaining that the state recommends a fund balance of $600,000 to $800,000 for Medina ISD's budget.
The original budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year included $3,523,405 in revenues and $3,552,306 in expenses.
Cockrill said the preliminary budget includes an increase of $277,895 in local revenues (property taxes) for a total of $2,530,000. He said the higher amount is due to increases in property valuations and that no increase is anticipated in the tax rate.
State revenues are projected to fall from $1,271,300 to $762,000, which includes a $509,300 overpayment that has created some of the school districts budget issues.
Payroll costs, under the preliminary budget, are slated to decrease from $2,900,028 in 2013-2014 to $2,469,702 in 2014-2015.
Contracted services will also decline from $356,468 to $336,928. Supplies will increase from $189,750 to $394,310.
Cockrill said the payroll costs were lessened due to the loss of the elementary principal, a position not replaced, and a reduction in staff.
He noted that the supplies portion of the budget has funds earmarked for summer projects as well as the increased fund balance.
Cockrill said the preliminary budget includes funds for staff salary step raises even though we are struggling with financial issues. "Our staff has done a wonderful job and this is just a small way to compensate a leaner staff that will be taking on more responsibilities in the new school year," he said
In other news, the superintendent said the board reviewed the monthly financial report, which shows that payroll costs are continuing to produce savings.
About 65.2 percent of the payroll budget was expended by April 30 compared to the budget projection of 66.7 percent.
Cockrill estimated that the payroll savings, along with other cost-cutting measures, will eventually bring the current fiscal year's fund balance to $250,000 to $300,000. The projected fund balance is currently at $164,627.
Under the superintendent report, Cockrill said the district has received 110 computers and monitors through a donation program run by Fortune 500 companies.
He explained that the companies provide the computers free of charge as part of their technology upgrading programs.
The computers, which were wiped clean, will have software installed on them for use by teachers and students during the coming academic year.
Cockrill said the district has implemented a Facebook page as a way to "keep parents and the community informed of everything goes on at school and the achievements of our students."
The Medina Independent School District page can be found at www.facebook.com/medinaisd.
Principal John McNamara and technology instructor Laura Sparks are handling the Facebook page.