The $1.3 million bet the Douglas County School District placed in May appears like it may have come up a winner.
On Tuesday night, school board trustees approved three resolutions dealing with the district’s $51.5 million general fund, the $8.4 million special revenue fund and the debt service fund.
Last spring, when the school board had to approve a final budget before knowing what they would receive from the Nevada Legislature, they took a chance that it would make up some of the $1.3 million difference rather than issue pink slips to teachers that would have to be rescinded.
“For the first time in many years I feel like we might be going up,” District Financial Officer Holly Luna said Tuesday. “There are still challenges. We’ve had six years of cumulative reduction in revenues.”
From 2008 to 2013 revenues decreased $5.3 million. We’ve see the first increase in the Distributive School Account since the 2008 special session.
In 2013-14, the per student support was $5,885, up from $5,314 last year.
It was the first time the level had increased above the 2007-08 amount of $5,383, Luna said.
Luna cautioned school board trustees that increase doesn’t mean there will be more money this year. Revenue from property tax is still decreasing, and will for another year or so.
In Nevada, schools are supported by a 75-cent per $100 assessed valuation on every home in the state.
That money is redistributed to the various districts based on a formula that takes into account the amount of property tax raised there. Douglas County has long exported property tax for support of the schools.
Because Douglas County’s school enrollment has dropped for the past several years, the district will lose $899,000 for the roughly 153 student decrease in 2011-12, even though its enrollment this year shrank only slightly.
“We’re not fat and we won’t be for a while,” Luna said.
Luna said that of the three components of the district’s revenue, property tax is the one that affects the district’s $51.5 million general fund the most. The state will balance out lost sales tax, but won’t make up lost property tax revenues.
Luna said costs for providing special education are going up.
“While the overall student population is going down, that’s not true of special education students,” she said.
The district budgeted $4.5 million for the program and it will cost $4.9 million.