Danville BOE approves next step for budget

District has $450K in additional funding to work with, after increase in taxes and SEEK funding

Proposed staffing allocations were reviewed and approved by the Danville Board of Education during Monday night’s regular board meeting.

Superintendent Keith Look said there were five steps to the allocation process: approve the updated base allocations for the schools;update the recurring revenue, expenses, and carry forward contribution; assess the school-based requests; assess central-office based requests; and construct a proposal for school-based needs.

Approving the allocations this early, Look said, allows the district and schools to begin advertising “to attract” the right candidates open positions. Base allocations include the principals, a portion of the media specialist, a number of elective teachers and others per each school — positions the district has to help cover.

“Step two is to look at, ‘How much money do we have to spend,’” Look said.

With the district tax increase last August making more money available — about $300,000 — and the increase in Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding — about $150,000 — the district has about $450,000 additional funding to work with. SEEK funding is determined based on enrollment numbers.

“For the last number of years, we have finished the year with a cushion. We believe it is safe to move some of that cushion into recurring expenses, which essentially puts more money into the schools,” Look said.

Ultimately, he and District Finance Officer Paul Dean figured that the district can afford to move $325,000 of those funds into the “recurring cost budget,” to help cover recurring expenses. That would cover things like annual raises, like the one percent added in the district last year.

The district has about “half a million dollars” to invest in operating expenses or recurring costs — an estimated $510,000 — which Look said was a “rare opportunity.”

“This is awesome, you guys. You should be highly commended for the way you pinched pennies (and) managed dollars,” Look said.

Moving onto the requests — the district has about $780,000 in requests at the schools. There are other requests forthcoming, he said, such as a request for increased support for English Language Learners from the district.

Look laid out a proposal that includes preparing for the future years, such as the future funding for the Danville High School Technology Resource Teacher, which has been noted as a necessity at the school. Beginning in the 2018-2019 year, the plan includes the district covering half, while the school covers the other half. 

Another portion of the proposal explains that the school’s pathways coach will be funded in the 2017-2018 year from a $30,000 AT&T grant, and the school will have to cover the cost the 2018-2019 year. Each school is laid out in the proposal.

The whole plan, Look said, assumes the board intends to maintain the compensating tax rate for the 2017-2018 year.

“We haven’t talked about tax rates. If you choose to take the compensating rate — if you choose not to raise taxes in August — you still achieve this,” he said.

Look said if the board did choose to raise the tax rates, they could focus the funds on something like funding an additional School Resource Officer.

“There’s a different tangible conversation to have about why the tax increase could be necessary and what it could go toward,” he said.

Board member Steve Becker commended Look and Dean on the allocation proposal.

“I think this is a brilliant budget. I think you guys have done an exceptional job,” Becker said.

Speaking of the future tax rate, he said it “could be defined at that juncture” and, if the rate was raised, the board would be able to give a definitive answer, as opposed to a general response.

“You guys have done a great job,” he said.

Other board members commended the two on the work they had put into the plan.

“We’ve asked a lot of you all to do that,” said Board Chair Paige Matthews.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.