G-R News By: Supt. Shawn Holloway-Gladbrook-Reinbeck Financial Projections
February 13, 2014
Last week, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school board was presented with financial projections during a board work session. A downward trend in Gladbrook-Reinbeck CSD’s spending authority was the focus of much concern and conversation. The issue is this: the state of Iowa controls the maximum amount of district general fund spending called “spending authority”. This is done for equity purposes; the basic principle is that every child should receive the same amount of funding no matter which district the child lives in. School districts cannot tax or levy for additional general fund dollars or for increased spending authority. What can the school district do to improve our spending authority? Gladbrook-Reinbeck can increase their spending authority through increased enrollment, increased categorical funds (special education, shared staff, dropout prevention, etc.), and increased miscellaneous revenue. There are limited options in regards to generating more general fund revenue, so the district is left with spending less annually from the general fund. Spending less from the general fund is the only other way to impact spending authority in a positive way. What is frustrating for the school district and community members is that some funds have money while the general fund lacks spending authority. This situation understandably leads to the following question that has been posed by some within our communities. How can the school district spend money on building upgrades, concession stands, gym floors, etc. while simultaneously suggesting the need to eliminate general fund expenditures and staff reductions? One example: building improvements come out of our physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL). Last fall local voters showed tremendous support for the Gladbrook-Reinbeck district by approving an extension on the voter approved PPEL. The school board then obtained a general obligation capital loan note against future voted PPEL revenues in the amount of $1,255,000. This capital loan note allowed the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school district to make many upgrades to their facilities. Unfortunately, the general fund does not allow for this type of local support. The state of Iowa controls the maximum amount of district spending from the general fund. The projected decrease in Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s general fund spending authority means that the district will need to take measures to correct the downward trend before our spending authority becomes a negative balance. Without taking proactive measures to correct this pattern, the district’s general fund spending authority would be negative within two years. Consequently, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck administration and school board are studying various scenarios to prevent this from happening. During the work session that was held in February, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school administration and school board set spending authority goals for the next three fiscal years. For more information regarding these goals, spending authority, and specifics on this topic please visit the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school website.
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