Letter: Inflation, debt part of referendumRegarding the letter to the editor questioning the inflation calculation used to determine the cost per pupil in the upcoming school referendum (R-E, July 1):
By: Stan Slessor and Brad Johnson, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Regarding the letter to the editor questioning the inflation calculation used to determine the cost per pupil in the upcoming school referendum (R-E, July 1):
The $600 per pupil amount which was passed five years ago did help Red Wing schools. Our continuous budget cuts over the years would have been much worse without that funding. However, the $600 amount was not intended to provide enough money to prevent annual cuts to the school budget.
The state has placed an increasing responsibility for school funding on local taxpayers. The proposed amount in the first ballot question is calculated to stop future cuts.
In selecting the $936.41 per pupil amount, the district is considering the effect of the general education revenue increase of only 0.69 percent per year over the five-year term of the last referendum. In essence, the $600 per pupil left annual revenue roughly $600,000 short of expenses and resulted in annual budget/staff cuts.
The $936.41 per pupil amount is calculated to bring the district out of operating debt (currently $841,000) and leave a fund balance of zero when its five-year term expires. The state requires us to eliminate that debt in three years, and part of the referendum must be used to do so.
The 3 percent inflation figure is used in forward planning and includes the district’s best estimate of personnel costs, energy expenditures, supplies, transportation, and other major costs over the next five years.
Stan Slessor and Brad Johnson
Stan Slessor is superintendent and Brad Johnson is finance director for Red Wing Independent School District 256.