Fort Calhoun Community Schools

Fort Calhoun Community Schools

Fort Calhoun Community Schools will see increases to its 2019-20 school year budget, but expected revenue increases, particularly due to rising property valuations in the district, should allow FCCS to lower its overall property tax levy.

The FCCS School Board discussed its budget, revenue and property tax levies with FCCS Business Manager David Genoways at a school board meeting Friday. Final approval of the budget and property tax levies will occur at the school board's Sept. 9 meeting.

Property tax levy

The overall tax levy for residents who live in the school district, which includes parts of Washington and Douglas counties, is expected to be $1.285 per $100 of valuation. The owner of a property valued at $200,000 could expect to pay $2,570. The overall tax levy for the 2018-19 school year was $1.3145 per $100 of valuation.

Property valuations for the entire school district total about $439 million this year, a 7.7 percent increase from last year.

Budget to increase

FCCS expects its budget to be just under $9 million for the 2019-20 school year. The 2019-20 budget is an increase of nearly $500,000 from the budget number set last year, though the district technically ended the year over budget at $8.82 million. Genoways said that is due to the district moving $600,000 to its depreciation fund for the elementary building project.

"If you take that out, we actually ended the year under budget," he said. "We were essentially 3.34 percent under the budget we approved last year."

Rising school staff salaries, and associated benefits, is one reason for the budget increase, Genoways said. The district expects to see a 4.15 percent increase in salaries this year compared to last year.

"No one should be surprised by this because we added staff. We added 2 1/2 teachers at the elementary, we took the psychologist on full-time and we raised salary schedule for paras, we did a number of things like that," Genoways said. "When you give everybody a 3 percent raise and you raise the schedule and you add staff and whatever, this is the kind of thing you're going to get."

Revenue expected to increase

Genoways also said the district should expect to see more revenue this year compared to last. Expected revenue for the 2019-20 school year is about $9.32 million, which includes about $3.82 million in state aid. Revenue in 2018-19 was about $8.72 million, though that number will increase once FCCS receives funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provides federal grant money through the state to schools each year.

"I was hoping to get the IDEA money ... Dr. Johnson called (the state) and found out they are two months behind IDEA applications," Genoways said, adding the district will get the money at some point.

*A previous version of this story stated property valuations for the FCCS district were $4.39 million. The actual property values are $439 million. The Pilot-Tribune regrets the error.

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