Elkhart school board approves $140M budget

 ELKHART— The Elkhart School Board has approved the corporation’s 2020 budget totaling $140.5 million.

The budget adopted Tuesday night is up about $2.5 million from the approved 2019 budget, which totaled $138 million. The budget also includes a total adopted tax levy of $48 million and a total adopted tax rate of $1.6096 per $100 assessed valuation.

Broken down, the budget’s education fund is estimated at $82.9 million, up from the $81.1 million approved for 2019. The budget’s approved operations fund is listed at $36.3 million, again up from the $35.2 million approved the previous year.

According to Kevin Scott, the district’s chief financial officer, the education fund covers all instructional expenses for the school corporation, which includes the salaries, wages and benefits for teachers, building administrators and classroom paraprofessionals.

Meanwhile, the operations fund is used to pay for non-academic expenses, which includes what used to be capital projects, transportation and bus-replacement funds. Last year was the first year for the changes.

The education fund is state funded while operations is funded through local property taxes, Scott said.

Moving forward, the budget’s rainy day fund and school pension debt both remain the same as last year at $2 million and $3 million, respectively. The budget’s approved debt service is listed at $9.9 million, down from the $10.6 approved in 2019.

Rounding out the plan is budget’s referendum fund (exempt operating), which is listed at $4.9 million, while the referendum debt fund (exempt capital) is budgeted at $1.3 million.

When looking at just the operations fund, Scott said the maximum levy is estimated to be $22,781,556 with a tax rate of approximately $0.6290. The school's total tax rate when considering all funds should be near the 2019 total tax rate which is $1.1562. The revenue loss to the operations fund due to tax caps is expected to be close to $4 million in 2020.

The adopted budget now goes to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, which will review the plan, make any necessary adjustments and give final approval.

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