The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 1:00 am

SACS set for input on budget

Public hearing to be Oct. 8

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Southwest Allen County Schools will hold an Oct. 8 public hearing on the district's proposed $81.4 million budget.

The 2020 spending plan, discussed at a board meeting Tuesday, projects increased spending next year and includes increases in the school district's education, operations and referendum funds. SACS advertised a $77.6 million budget last year. 

The district plans about $45 million in spending from the education fund, which includes money for programs such as kindergarten, alternative education and help for students with disabilities. That's about $2.3 million more than was budgeted for this year. 

Business manager Mark Snyder told board members the school district has added teachers to keep up with an increase in enrollment, fueling the increase in planned spending for 2020. Three new kindergarten teachers were added, he said, along with seven elementary teachers. 

“Changes for the proposed budget are mostly due to staff,” Snyder said. 

About 7,500 students were enrolled last year, according to state statistics, and SACS officials estimate nearly 200 more have enrolled this year. Snyder said he expects more state funding to follow the students to SACS for 2020. 

Proposed operations fund spending totals about $19.3 million – a 4% increase over the 2019 budget – and includes about $5.8 million for building maintenance and about $377,000 for hardware maintenance and support. SACS plans to spend about $873,000 – nearly $100,000 less than last year – to replace school buses. 

Snyder said he's gathering numbers on what the budget means for homeowners in the school district. He said he will present data on tax levies at the Oct. 8 meeting. 

The nearly $4.3 million referendum fund pays for salaries and benefits for positions including a school resource officer. 

The board likely will vote to adopt the 2020 budget at its Oct. 22 meeting. 

In other business, the board discussed proposed school calendars for the 2021-22 school year and directed staff to post three options to the district's website. 

People can go there to choose which option they prefer. 

One option includes a start day for students Aug. 9, while the last day of school would be May 27. Another calls for an Aug. 11 start date, a last day of May 26 and a break at the end of the calendar year from Dec. 20-31.

The final option includes an Aug. 9 start date and May 25 end date.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily