The Hope Public Schools Board adopted a 2018-2019 budget that is more fiscally conservative than usual Tuesday night in special session.
Hope Superintendent Bobby Hart presented the board with the $18.9 million fiscal plan which is some $600,000 above last year, but Hart explained that it is designed to rein-in some costs while benefitting from some savings changes.
“We’ve been able to do some good things with what we have,” Hart said. “We are not going to skimp on the kids.”
Changes which have effected some savings in the budget have included a shift to contracted services in the district’s food services and custodial services. Those changes, Hart pointed out, have reduced costs for taxes paid-in, workman’s compensation insurance, health insurance premiums, and salary costs, which are now paid by contractors Aramark and ABM.
The 2018-2019 budget reflects a beginning balance of some $4.05 million, which is about $600,000 lower than 2017-2018, plus projected revenue and other balances of about $16.9 million, for total revenue of $20.9 million. That compares with a 2017-2018 beginning balance of $4.6 million and projected revenues and other balances of $17.3 million for total revenue of $21.9 million last year.
Hart pointed to areas where the new budget shows increases for district programs, such as an expenditure for new high school band uniforms.
“They have done a fantastic job in developing the program,” he said.
Hart said growth in the band program has gone from 33 students at Hope High School at the beginning of 2017-2018 to 53 students this fall, and some 125 students in the grades five through seven band program.
“We’re picking up in the lower grades and building,” he said. “We see the value in that for the long term.”