ZCS proposes 2019 budget

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By Desiree Williams

What happened:

For 20 years, Zionsville Community Schools CFO Mike Shafer presented the proposed annual budget at a public hearing of the school board. This year, his proposal featured a structural shift.

What it means:

Because of House Bill 1009, effective Jan. 1, 2019, the financial structure of school corporations will change. The ZCS structure previously consisted of five funds: general, capital projects, transportation, bus replacement and debt service. The new legislation eliminates the general fund and replaces it with an education fund and an operations fund.

The education fund is strictly for instructional costs. The operations fund combines the operations portion of the old general fund with the transportation, bus replacement and capital project funds.

Shafer said state aid will provide for the education and operations fund, while local property taxes will funnel into the operations fund, debt service fund and operating referendum.

State aid is determined by enrollment and funding per pupil. Funding per pupil is divided into two categories. The foundation is a fixed amount that each district receives while the second piece is a variable amount related to poverty. The ZCS district has the lowest percentage of students in poverty in the state, which means the corporation receives the least amount of funding per pupil, Shafer said.

What’s next:

Budget adoption will occur at the next meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

School board and district leaders voiced concerns about the formula and considered strategies to approach the state legislature in its upcoming session with possible solutions.

The 2019 estimated budget is $85.5 million. Revenue is projected to be $86.5 million, which combines 50 percent state funding with 46 percent property taxes and 4 percent other sources. Shafer said the community should see little or no change in property taxes.

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