Campbell County School Board Trustees Approve Preliminary Budget

At their Zoom meeting on Tuesday night, Campbell School District Trustees approved the preliminary budget submittal from district administration for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The Board of Trustees also affirmed a contract executed by Superintendent Alex Ayers for architecture services for the Kid Clinic.

The architecture contract executed with Schutz Foss Architects, P.C. of Gillette is for an approximately 4,000-square-foot building at the corner of 7th Street and Kendrick Avenue. The building would be owned by the school district, but Campbell County Health would be the tenant, as part of the partnership between the two to provide the Kid Clinic. A preliminary budget for the project has been established at between $1.4 and $1.6 millions with a lump sum fee of $119,752 paid to Campbell County-based Schutz Foss Architecture for engineering and design services.

The Board of Trustees also approved the preliminary budget provided by district administration. The preliminary budget is meant to give trustees an overview of the direction the administration is headed in preparation of the budget in order to solicit feedback from trustees. Administration will now finalize figures before formally approving the budget in July for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The preliminary budget includes an increase in general fund expenses (e.g. Operations, Transportation, Special Education) of approximately $7 million, or 5.11%.

2020-2021 Preliminary Budget
Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Preliminary Budget Expense Summary (Graphic: Campbell County School District Finance Department)

The district’s depreciation is up, but depreciation for governmental organizations is a non-cash expense.

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The district’s major capital expenses are down by nearly 15% and capital recreation projects, which are also funded by the rec mill through the Campbell County Community Public Recreation District, are down approximately 4%. Campbell County School District always operates with a balanced budget.

The district’s total expenses in the preliminary budget are estimated at $212 million, which is a 5.25% increase over the adopted 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.

Perhaps most intriguing about the preliminary budget from school district administration is what is not in it; this is the first year since the State of Wyoming initiated the recapture process (where more wealthy districts have money “recaptured” to be redistributed to other districts) that Campbell County School District has not planned to make a recapture payment. Initiated in the 1980s, with the district making its first payment in 1984, the district has paid $958,141,942 in recapture to the State of Wyoming for other districts according to numbers from Shelly Haney, finance manager for Campbell County School District.

Regardless, Haney stressed that the preliminary budget is very preliminary in nature and changes will be made before the proposed budget is provided to trustees for approval in July.