Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in decreased state aid, Pittsburg USD 250 is keeping its mill levy steady for the upcoming school year.

Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in decreased state aid, Pittsburg USD 250 is keeping its mill levy steady for the upcoming school year.
In its prepared budget, published Wednesday in The Morning Sun, the local school district proposed to keep its total tax rate at 51.373 mills.
Superintendent Destry Brown said he and the Board of Education wanted to keep the mill levy "as static as we could," despite losing approximately $650,000 in per-pupil aid as part of the state’s attempt to balance its budget in the face of significant revenue shortfalls.
A public hearing to discuss the budget will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Bevan Education Center, 510 Deill St.
The proposed total expenditures of almost $40.6 million is up from last year’s budget of around $39 million, although the district’s general fund budget has decreased from about $18.5 million a year ago to close to $18.1 million for the 2009-2010 school year.
The district’s Local Option Budget has increased to almost $5.3 million, up from last year’s $5.1 million — a bump that increased that fund’s mill rate from 18.43 to a flat 19 mills. However, a decrease in the district’s capital outlay fund, which is used mostly for building repairs and furnishings, helped offset the LOB increase, Brown said. The capital outlay fund was decreased from $964,410 to $950,000 and the fund’s mill rate dropped from 5 mills to 3.927 mills.
"What that means is some of our bigger projects that we need to take care of eventually might be put on the back burner," Brown said.
The district’s assessed valuation took a hit this year due to the closing of businesses such as Superior Industries and National Mills, Brown said. Last year’s valuation was approximately $150.24 million, while this year’s is down to $142.40 million.
Brown said Wednesday that despite the multiple cuts in state aid, the district’s budget for the upcoming year was relatively sound.
"We're going to make it work," he said. "It's healthy in the respect that it hasn't cut us to the point where we'll have to reduce student services a great deal."
He also said the district was trying to avoid making any staff reductions during the next year, though he added that there were no guarantees.
"I'd like to get through this year without having to reduce staff," he said. "We have committed to those people and I’d like to keep all those people for this school year."
However, if more state aid cuts come in January, as Brown expects they might, reductions in classified staff may be unavoidable.
"I don't want to have to do that," Brown said. "However, that is the reality of what a lot of people have had to do."
Brown said federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was helping to soften the blow from the state aid reductions, as is additional funds for new facility weighting. However, both of those expire in two years, and if the state's budget situation does not improve, Brown said the local school district's budget problems could get much worse.
"If things don't turn around," he said, "we're looking at the potential for upwards of $2 million in reductions. If it gets to that point, I don't really know what we'll do."