April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Schools settle on 2017 budget numbers

By By Paul [email protected]

Residents of the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. can expect the school-dedicated portion of their property taxes to settle in at less than $1.50 per $100 of their homes' assessed valuation, according to school officials.

For a $100,000 home, that comes to less than $1,500 before deductions.

But the news is better than it seems, even after a Tuesday meeting in which the FRHC school board approved the 1.5-percent tax rate as part of a 2017 budget that calls for $8.56 million in school directed spending.

Jeff Cleland, the school district's business manager, said residents almost certainly would pay a rate much closer to the 1.28 percent that is in effect this year by the time the state locks down final numbers. He said that when estimating the money the school system would need to conduct business, he assumed a total, corporation-wide assessed valuation of $200 million, which is almost certainly lower than reality.

He said he always estimates budget dollar amounts on the liberal side, because state law will allow him only to lower those numbers after the district approves them. He said the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance will review and adjust the numbers at a later date -- probably in January -- in setting a final budget that will remain in effect from January until the end of 2017.

The district's assessed valuation in the state's 2016 budget order was $210.4 million.

For now, the district can only go with a worst-case-scenario guess. And that guess, now that the local school board has approved of it, calls for spending about $12,000 less than what's being spent in the current cycle.

The budgetnotices.in.gov website shows some funds within the Flat Rock-Hawcreek budget are higher than current levels, while others are lower. Together, they level out for a mostly break-even proposal.

For example:

  • The General Fund, which settled in at $5.47 million this year, would fall to $5.39 million under the 2017 estimate. Cleland said the proposed amount probably would drop to $5.3 million by the time final numbers are set.

  • The Bus Replacement Fund would rise by about $12,000 to an estimated $110,000.

    The General Fund, used for teacher salaries and benefits, is funded entirely by the state and thus not supported by property taxpayer dollars.[[In-content Ad]]
  • HOPE