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Most area schools take big hit on ‘10-11 state aid PDF Print E-mail

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