School district state funding decrease

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Portales Municipal Schools has $211,000 less in its operational fund than expected, but the director of finance said the district has a financial cushion to prevent problems.

The board of education approved a number of budget adjustments, including two decreases to the operational fund, at its meeting Monday in the administration building.

Director of Finance Carol Kriegshauser said the state took back $20.68 per student, for a total of about $111,000, from this fiscal year’s funding due to the deficit in the state budget. Also, the interest earned from the operational fund was less than Kriegshauser’s low estimate, she said, meaning an additional decrease of $100,000.

“It really won’t affect anybody,” Kriegshauser said of the decreases after the meeting.

The district just won’t buy supplies at the end of the year as it otherwise would have, she said.

In case of such situations, the district doesn’t plan to spend all of the money it expects to receive each year, Kriegshauser said. Also, administrators carry over funds from the previous year.

“We always allow a cushion,” she said.

During the meeting, Superintendent Randy Fowler said the district’s loss of $111,000 from the state was comparatively minimal. All state entities had to decrease their budgets, but the schools had the least required reductions, he said.

Kriegshauser is anticipating a further decrease in the budget for the next fiscal year because of a slight expected drop in student enrollment and a possible additional reduction in the funding the state provides per student. Kriegshauser said she wouldn’t know if the per-student funding would drop until the state budget workshop at the end of the month.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a calendar for next school year. The calendar aligns the district’s spring break with Eastern New Mexico University’s and allows a day off in October.

• Voted to give two scholarships to Portales High School students, one boy and one girl, who the board will select. Fowler said planners were thinking each scholarship would be for $1,000.