School Board convenes to approve next year’s budget
Although the state legislature is still in session, and could be for some time, the Nome Board of Education convened at a special meeting last Tuesday to approve the district’s budget for the 2016-2017 school year. “The legislature can go up to 120 days before they go into extended session, and it could go into June,” Nome Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Arnold told members of the board. “But with what we know from the state at this time, we’ve put together the budget.”
Over the last few months the board has seen four budget drafts as the district has worked to balance its prospective revenue and expenditures. District Chief Financial Officer Lucienne Smith joined the meeting via teleconference and briefly took board members through the balanced budget, which is projected to be $15,168,882.
For the first time in several years, the district has not had to project transferring money from their fund balance, which needs to remain around 10 percent of the overall operation costs. And although things could shift around a bit between now and the start of school in August, both Arnold and Smith feel confident that the budget reflects a good picture of the upcoming school year. The budget is built around a projected student enrollment of 792 students and a Base Student Allocation, BSA for short, of $5,930.
The BSA is the amount per student allotted to districts as minimum for funding. Staff salaries account for about 85 percent of the districts expenditures, and it is still unclear whether Nome Public Schools will need to absorb a larger contribution toward employee retirement funds. Another unknown is how much money the City of Nome will contribute to the local schools this year. Currently, the district has budgeted for “flat funding” from the city, which means the city will contribute the minimum required amount of its own state monies. “Things are looking well with the city,” Arnold said. “We have asked for more, and they haven’t officially assigned additional funds to NPS, but if they want to include more, they can put that forth in their meeting with us in May.”
The school district will meet in a joint budget session with the Nome Common Council on Monday, May 9 in the council chambers at City Hall.