80 percent of Dist. 88 funds will go toward instruction in ’13-14

NEW ULM – Eighty percent of District 88 funds will go toward direct or indirect instruction during the school year 2013-14, according to a December report by Business Manager Myrna Meunier.

Of an operating budget of some $20.8 million this school year, $9 million, or 43 percent, is being spent on “regular instruction” or directly in the classroom, according to the report. Another roughly $4 million, or about 20 percent, is being spent on special education.

Of other instruction-related spending, pupil support services (counselors, nurses, etc.) take up roughly $2 million, or 10 percent of the budget; instructional support services (media centers, staff development, etc.) make up approximately $1.2 million, or 6 percent; district support services (expenditures related to the central office) account for roughly $0.4 million, or 2 percent; and vocational instruction takes up $0.2 million, or 1 percent, according to the report.

The remainder of operating spending goes to the following: administration, approximately $1 million, or 5 percent; sites and buildings, $2.2 million, or 11 percent; and fiscal and other fixed costs $0.17 million, or 1 percent.

Meunier’s report also provided another way of looking at how the revenue is spent: by dividing expenditures by “object category.”

According to this analysis, salaries and wages account for some $10 million, or 50 percent, of expenditures, and employee benefits account for another $4.6 million, or 22 percent. The balance is made up by purchased services, $4.5 million, or another 22 percent; supplies and materials, $0.6 million, or 3 percent; and capital expenditures, $0.5 million, or another 3 percent.

The operating, or “general fund” revenue constitutes the majority of the school district budget: 87 percent. Other components of the budget are: food service, 3 percent; community service (known as community education), 3 percent; debt service, 7 percent; and a smaller trust fund (less than 1 percent). The revenue budget totals nearly $24 million.

General fund revenues come from four main sources, the report also explains. This year, state revenues make up 74 percent of the revenue budget; local property taxes make up 21 percent; federal revenue 2 percent; and other local sources and fees make up 3 percent.

District 88 instruction spending compares favorably to other districts, according to auditors and school officials.

In general, District 88 tends to report higher numbers of students receiving special education and therefore higher spending on special education; and also higher transportation costs. The special education spending numbers have been attributed to high quality programs that attract students. Higher transportation costs have been explained in part with the geography of the district.

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