By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
There’s one consolation for Chase County Schools in the lower state aid figures released last week by the Nebraska Department of Education.
They’re not alone.
Chase County Schools’ aid dropped significantly, but so did most area schools. The only area school to see an increase is Hitchcock County Schools.
At the March 9 school board meeting, Supt. Matt Fisher said he expected the district to receive less state aid for 2010-11 compared to 2009-10.
And, he was correct.
CCS will see a drop in state aid of $215,617.94 next year.
This current school year, CCS is operating on $511,076.84 in state aid. Next year, it will be $295,458.90.
Supt. Fisher said Chase County’s loss was about where he expected it to be, and the district has a couple of options to deal with it.
This year’s school budget will assess property owners with a 95.63-cent General Fund levy (per $100 of valuation). School districts can tax up to $1.05 for General Fund budget items.
Additionally, Fisher said the board has built up the cash reserve, and added $250,000 in this current budget year. If the board feels they don’t want to increase the levy as much as needed for 2010-11, they can fall back on the cash reserve funds, he said.
The board has also been putting money in the building fund, so some projects can use those dollars versus general fund money.
“We’ll be able to work it financially,” Fisher said of the lower state aid next year. But, it’s always a shame to have to shift more burden on taxpayers, he added.
The state likes to see local district General Fund levies between $1 and $1.05, Fisher said. If CCS increases its levy to $1 or more next year, it likely would mean more state aid the following year, Fisher said.
The only area school to see an increase in state aid next year was Hitchcock County Schools. Supt. Fisher said that was due mainly to a correction owed the school when it went through consolidation.
State aid to area schools
School 2009-10 2010-11 Difference
Chase County Schools $511,076.84 $295,458.90 $215,617.94 less
Wauneta/Palisade Schools 844,430.93 565,751.48 278,679.45 less
Dundy County/Stratton 930,923.38 644,585.24 286,338.14 less
Perkins Co. Schools 784,925.19 194,664.39 590,260.80 less
Hayes Center Schools 813,675.60 464,324.02 349,351.58 less
Hitchcock County Schools 248,399.92 599,000.00 350,600.08 more
Ogallala Public Schools 2,067,425.18 1,806,803.64 260,621.54 less
North Platte Public Schools 13,016,399.65 10,536,352.97 2,480,046.68 less
McCook Public Schools 6,066,308.84 5,758,349.35 307,959.49 less