Salem School Board gets good, bad financial news

salem-signIt was a good news, bad news kind of night for the Salem School Board Tuesday night when it came to money:

Good news — The district spent about $183,00 less than expected last year. That, along with a $75,000 grant the district didn’t have figured into the budget meant the district had a deficit of about $450,000 instead of the projected over $600,000. “We didn’t go into our fund balance as much as we thought,’ said Peter Geissal, business manager. Consequently the fund balance stands at about $1.5 million instead of ¬†about $1.3 million.

Bad news — The district has been told to expect about $450,000 less in state aid for the coming year. That shortfall doesn’t necessarily affect the state revenue limit, so the district could make up the money through a property tax increase without passing a referendum. “Our only option is to raise property taxes,” Geissal said. “You’re still sympathetic to this is a big hit to taxes.”

As for the next budget, it’s still too early to make too many calls, Geissel said. More solid information about enrollment and other factors that will effect the state revenue limit will not be known until school starts.

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