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Record Number: 9087
Displayed from: Sep 25, 2012 , until: Nov 30, 2012

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees reviewed the 2013 budget today, which shows an increase, primarily because of shifting revenue and changes made in state funding.

The $279 million plan is a 5 percent increase over the 2012 budget. The largest increase is in the General Fund, which pays for salaries, benefits and other classroom expenses. In 2013, stimulus money is no longer available to pay for building coaches, teachers who assist other teachers, which requires the salaries to be shifted to the General Fund. While 14 teaching positions were eliminated in the 2013 budget, saving nearly $1 million, more than $2 million will be spent on bonuses given to teachers and other staff working in a LEAD School.

General Fund revenue from the state will increase as the state moves closer to fully funding full-day kindergarten. With the increase, FWCS will supplement $1.5 million for full-day kindergarten. In past years, the District supported nearly $4.5 million in kindergarten costs not covered by the state.

Revenue and spending will also increase in the Capital Projects Fund. Because of a correction in the state funding formula and a temporary change in how school districts can pay for pension bonds, revenue for the Capital Projects Fund is expected to increase by $2.4 million. Specific plans for the additional revenue have not yet been determined, but the revenue will assist in maintaining and improving buildings not included in the $119 million project approved by voters in May 2012. In addition, bonds to pay for the project approved in May will begin having an effect on the District’s budget in 2013. Work on many of the 36 buildings in the plan will become visible by spring.

“The State Legislature has given us an opportunity to address some of our funding challenges in the Capital Projects Fund,” Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend said. “This, of course, does not take away the need that we had when we asked voters to approve the referendum in May. Instead, it helps us address needs at the buildings that were not included in the first phase of the building project.”

FWCS remains among the highest in the state in terms of funneling dollars into the classroom. During the 2010-11 school year, FWCS spent 69 percent of its budget in the classroom, compared to the state average of nearly 59 percent.

As the District’s budget increases, homeowners will see their tax bills increase as well. FWCS estimates the owner of a $100,000 house would pay an additional $33.42 to FWCS, an increase in the total tax bill of 3.2 percent.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in the Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St. Board members will vote on the plan at the Oct. 22 Board meeting.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.