Normally, when Crookston School Board members at each meeting are presented with resolutions to approve monthly bills and other payments and the current budget report, if there's much in the way of discussion it's mostly to make sure things are basically on target with previous projections.
But at Monday's board meeting, Business Manager Laura Lyczewski made a point to note that the 2013-14 budget, as it stands now, is in good shape. "Things are looking good, revenue-wise," she said.
Why? A big contributor is student enrollment that is currently outpacing projections for the 2013-14 school year. As the current school year budget was crafted earlier this year, the board signed off on a "Average Daily Membership" (ADM) projection of 1,237. That's the weighted student formula on which the Minnesota Department of Education bases its funding of public school districts. The ADM in the Crookston district right now is at approximately 1,250. Averaging it out, if 1 ADM brings in around $8,000 a year, 13 brings in around $110,000 more than what was previously projected.
Crookston is considered a district with a high student mobility rate, so the ADM could drop later in the school year. It has before. But over the past couple years, the ADM has been relatively stable, and Lyczewski said if October and November ADM figures remain in the 1,250 range the board will probably want to take a closer look at how the enrollment boost is impacting the budget.
Board Chair Frank Fee noted that over the past few years the board has taken an especially cautious approach when projecting the ADM for upcoming school year budgets. He attributes that to an ADM projection from 2007-08 that ended up being significantly higher than reality, and it resulted in some budget reductions. "I think we've been a little gun shy on (ADM projections) since then," Fee said.
Lyczewski also stressed that changes on the federal and state level in the way special education expenses and revenue are coded is also a significant contributor to the district's current positive budget situation.
More from school board
• CHS Principal J.J. Vold reported that the school district's website this week is in the midst of a free upgrade from RSchoolToday and the result in early October will be a more modern look and better functionality. Teacher Toni Grove's communications students have also launched a CHS Facebook page.
• Vold also reported that CHS teachers art teachers and welding/metals teacher Mike Geffre are working with students on a project that will result in 12 Pirate banners being made in class and hung from the light poles in the high school parking lot. "It's going to be kind of a cool touch," Vold said.