School Board Increases Per Pupil Allocation as Budget Process Begins
By Jake Mathias
An increase in per-pupil allocations was approved by the school district’s business services committee on Monday, bringing the total spent per student up by $15.
The per-pupil application is used to determine the amount of money allocated to the various schools in the district. The PPA is multiplied by the number of students in each school and then used to determine each school building’s budget for the year of 2016. The number varies from school to school depending the amount of students, location of the school and total budget.
“The reason for that is the lack of economy of scale,” said Thomas Owens, director of business services. “Smaller buildings don’t have the ability to move some money around as much as a larger building would because there’s not as much money there to begin with.”
The majority of the district’s elementary schools have a per pupil rate of $173.96 but outlying, less populated schools such as Kennedy Elementary in Junction City have a slightly higher rate of $184.01. The monies go towards operating expenses such as supplies and equipment needed for students.
“It is tied to the population,” said Board Member Jeff Ebel.
The secondary schools of SPASH and C.F. Fernandez a have much higher PPA set at $251.30 due to the increased cost of operating and opportunities offered to students.
“If you stop and think about it, activities at SPASH are greatly expanded and far more involved than what goes on in buildings at the elementary level,” said Owens.
The PPA increased 1.29 percent over that of 2015-16 school year budget. This was due to a slight decrease in enrollment of 71 students. Owens said he kept the total dollar amount the same and increased the PPA rather than decrease the total allocation with the decreased enrollment.
Also approved by the committee was the department/program allocation for the 2016-17 school year which is set at $7,813,242, the same as the year previous. Owens said he would normally recommend a two percent increase to this budget allocation to address inflation costs of various district suppliers but due to a tight budget he recommended it stay the same.
“Last year we recommended no increase in either of these as well,” said Board Chairperson Trish Baker.
The PPA and department allocations do not include salaries, benefits or maintenance costs as those are budgeted elsewhere.
The per pupil and department allocations next go to the full school board for final approval at their meeting on December 14 at 6:30 PM at the Bliss Educational Services Center located at 1900 Polk St. in Stevens Point.