Trenton school board passes $12.5M budget

By Crystal Burns

Using money left over from the 2016-17 budget, the Trenton Special School District Board of Trustees passed a $12.5M, balanced budget that includes a two-percent raise for all employees and a robust list of one-time expenditures.

“I tell you I think it’s a really healthy budget, and I tell you I think we are able to fund a great deal of requests,” said Director of Schools Sandra Harper.

The district property tax rate remains $2.16 per $100 assessed value, and revenues are estimated at $11,846,870. Estimated expenditures are $12,516,466 and include an increase in bandwidth for the entire district, continuation of the 1:1 initiative to provide Chromebooks for students in fifth, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, one bus, resurfacing a section of roof at the elementary school, a new sound system for the Peabody High gym, and new security system at Trenton Elementary. Harper said the district could get 80 percent of the cost of the security system paid from other sources.

Harper also reviewed the 2016-17 budget, showing actual revenue at $11.9M million and actual expenditures at $11.2M, leaving $698,111 for the district to use to balance the 2017-18 budget.

“The budget has come together so much better than what I anticipated,” she said. “I really do feel like we had a great 2016-17 year as far as monitoring our budget as far as expenditures and revenue.”

Harper said the district completed almost all its one-time requests, totaling about $333,000, in the previous budget. The district also has nearly $1.5 million in its designated fund balance with just over $1 million in capital outlay, and $3,664,476 in its undesignated fund balance. State law requires school districts to keep at least three percent of its total budget in reserves; Trenton has about 25 percent, Harper said.

“I’m confident that’s a good, healthy reserve,” she said. “This money should be used on our children and what we need to do for them.”

The board also unanimously approved carrying over two open purchase orders from the high school to the 17-18 budget. One PO is for football and is not to exceed $1500 and the other is for volleyball not to exceed $119.

Board recognition – Board Chairman Dr. Mark Harper presented parting gifts to outgoing board members Jim Overall and Sherry Whitby. They each served 16 years on the board and chose not to seek re-election this month.

“We appreciate all that you’ve done,” Dr. Harper said.

Both Overall and Whitby said serving on the board had been rewarding.

“It’s not been a burden for me at all,” Whitby said. “It’s been a pleasure.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve,” Overall said. “It’s been fun.”

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