Dysart board sets 2017-18 budget, most expenditures for staff

An aerial view of the Dysart Unified School District offices in Surprise. The rural Paradise Acres development is to the west. (Courtesy naturalpowerandenergy.com)

By Jennifer Jimenez
independent Newsmedia

The total budget revenue for 2017-18 fiscal year was approved by the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board during the June 28 meeting.

The total aggregate school district budget limit is $170,790,180. This includes a general budget limit of $150,410,855, unrestricted capital budget limit of $9,378,624, plus $11,000,701 for federal projects.

Budgeted expenditures include maintenance and operations, plus unrestricted capital outlay for the total budget subject to budget limits of $159,789,479.

Executive Director of Business Services Jack Eaton said the budget is based on the strategic plan, with 80 percent tied up with staff and the other significant amount used on utilities.

“Our discretionary spending is minimal and we work hard with all staff to allocate to the needs of everyone,” he said.

Zach Fountain, district communications and public relations director, said the general budget limit is set by the state and is driven by daily student membership rates.

“This rate is enhanced for special needs students and local voter supported initiatives. The monies come from the distribution of state property tax and comes from the state’s general fund,” he said.

The unrestricted capital money comes from District Additional Assistance, which was based on prior years, but has been changed to current funding beginning in 2017-18; carryover from prior years in unspent capital monies; and allocation of a percentage of proposition 123 funding, of which Dysart uses 20 percent to support capital costs.

In the area of revenue and property taxation, the total budgets revenues for fiscal year 2017-18 is $136,100,000. Estimated revenues by sources for fiscal year 2017-18, excluding property taxes, is local $21,600.000, intermediate $7,300,000, state $82,000,000 and federal $127,700,000.

The district tax rates decreased from $4.2197 to $4.1572 for fiscal year 2017-18 in the primary tax rate. In secondary tax rates, the M&O tax rate decreased from $1.6390 for fiscal year 2016-17 to $1.5750 for fiscal year 2017-18. Class B bonds also decreased from $1.2695 in 2017 to $1.2662 for fiscal year 2017-18.

“The Legislature also imposed new requirements which require two votes this year for the budget, which includes supplemental 1.06 percent teacher increase. The budget will reflect the actual cost to us in October when all staff has been hired,” Mr. Eaton said.

Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Gail Pletnick, Ed.D, agreed with Mr. Eaton on the complicated budget and commended business services on all their hard work to keep the district up and running.
The board also had to approve the 1.06 percent salary increase for the coming year.

“But also keep in mind the district does not get to define what a teacher is. That is defined by the auditor general,” Dr. Pletnick said.

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