Moffat County School District 2017-18 Budget is in the black |

Moffat County School District 2017-18 Budget is in the black

For the first time in at least five years, the Moffat County board of education has approved a budget with revenue projected to exceed $20 million, about $2 million more than last year.

The Moffat County School District budget provides a second pay increase to staff, increases approved capital expenditures and maintains services provided last year.

"What the board approved was a fiscally responsible budget with a healthy fund balance," said Superintendent Dave Ulrich.

The school district has not had to make cuts is in stark contrast to other government entities also struggling to weather a decline in local revenues.

The biggest difference between the school district budget and other entities is something called "State Equalization."

"The state guarantees us a certain amount of funding, so whatever we don't get from property taxes, we get from the state," said District Executive Director of Finance and Operations John Wall.

Recommended Stories For You

One-time and ongoing state revenue increases have had a big impact on the bottom line. The complete budget is now available on the school district website. Here are some of the highlights.

Five facts about the 2017-18 budget

1 — Revenues are projected to exceed $20 million for the first time in the last 5 years. Increased revenue comes from the following sources:

• State increase in per-pupil funding from $7,048 to $7,279 for an estimated increase of $390,000.
• The award of an Early Literacy Grant from the Colorado Department of Education in the amount of $447,000 in 2017-18 and for $250,000 in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
• An increase in state funding for Special Education estimated at $100,000.
• $140,000 in new federal revenue to go toward preschool.

• $361,000 state funding increase to rural school districts resulting from Senate Bill 17-267 — Sustainability of Rural Colorado.
• Recouping $338,000 that was lost in 2016-17 from the Salt River Project abatement.

2 — Staff realignment in English Language Learning is expected to result in a savings of about $25,000.

3 — The following additional changes were made to staff:

• Two literacy coaches will be hired at a cost of about $102,000 as a condition of the Early Literacy Grant.
• About $51,000 will be spent to hire a behavioral specialist.
• About $51,000 will be spent to hire a Special Education Certified Preschool teacher.
• About $40,000 will be spent to hire two new preschool teachers.
• About $25,000 will be spent to hire a half-time English teacher at Craig Middle School.
• If the contact is finalized, about $190,000 will be spent for Memorial Regional Health to continue to provide nursing and health tech. services throughout the school district.

4 — The board approved $820,000 in capital spending compared to $240,000 approved by the board for the 2016-17 budget. The increase comes from one time allocations: $360,000 from Senate Bill 267, plus reserves from the capital projects fund and from general fund reserves.

5 — The top fiscal challenge faced by the district is the roughly $17 million needed for deferred facilities maintenance. The board has begun a process to close one of four elementary schools in Craig for an annual estimated savings of $750,000 that would begin to help renovate old schools, help replace old equipment and help replace an old bus fleet.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education