The Waterloo School Board approved the district’s 2019-20 budget at Monday’s board meeting.
The budget shows the district having $30,488,722 in revenue and expending $32,440,587 over the next fiscal year.
“Our approach to budgeting is to try to represent every dollar we think we can count on on the revenue side, and on the expenditure side we try to find every possible expenditure we think we can predict,” Waterloo Superintendent of Schools Brian Charron explained. “We’re never perfect, but sometimes we’re close.
“We do it that way because we like, form a taxpayer’s perspective, that this budget be the worst case scenario, and that our budget at the end of the year would end up better than this.”
Although the budget is $1,951,865 in the red overall, Charron said residents should not be concerned about the overspending.
Some of that is money the district is purposefully overspending to do things like ensure it can keep some programs and keep class sizes small.
Most of that money, however, is for numerous projects the district is completing or has completed including replacing three roofs, installing LED lighting throughout the district and replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning components at Gardner Elementary School.
Many of those projects will pay for themselves over time through the energy savings the district will get.
The district can afford to overspend, Charron said, because it has plenty of money saved up, including expressly for these purposes.
Even after this deficit spending, the district is projecting it will have over $17 million in reserve at the end of the fiscal year.
“It’s a blessing to our school, a blessing to our community and, for the board, I think it represents good stewardship with what we’re doing,” Charron said. “And it allows us to consciously overspend when we feel there are things we need to do because we think it’s the right thing for kids.”
Overall, Charron said he is happy with the budget.
“I feel like everything we’re doing here we would probably defend to concerned taxpayers,” he noted.
The district is also gearing up to spend a little more money, as it recently got the results of investigative geotechnical and topographic survey and Zahnow Elementary School and Rogers Elementary School.
The board approved that survey in July as it looked to fix the parking lots at those two schools to ensure it addressed a problem with the Rogers parking lot consistently having an abundance of standing water.
The district had put in drainage to redirect the water, but it wanted to get this study done to make sure when it replaced the asphalt next summer it would last.
It will last, but the district will need to spend an additional $40,000-$50,000 because the ground underneath the Rogers parking lot is approximately 75 percent silt.
Charron explained silt acts like a sponge, absorbing water and causing the asphalt to shift.
To combat that, the district will need to excavate the asphalt and the silt at least to the freeze line to replace that earth with rock.
At Zahnow, there was also a higher than normal concentration of silt, but not enough to be problematic.