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Campbell County superintendent predicts changes in revenue

Superintendent Alex Ayers told the board they can expect some changes in recapture funding.

Campbell County school board and administrators discuss budgetary matters May 9. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County school board members approved the preliminary 2023–24 budget of expected incoming revenue tonight.

Superintendent Alex Ayers said he and Associate Superintendent for Instructional Support Dennis Holmes are pretty confident that the recapture, when amended, will be well over $100 million this year, not simply the $41.6 million, in addition to the $111 million for the 2023–24 school year. Wyoming legislators decided that mineral and mine producers should pay taxes on production monthly instead of 18 months later.

Wyoming’s school foundation program provides a guaranteed level of funding to each of the state’s public school districts. The funding is based on a number of factors, including the number of students enrolled in the district in the prior year. If a district’s local revenues are less than the guarantee level of funding, the state of Wyoming makes up the difference through entitlement payments that it sends the district throughout the school year, using funding from school districts that have higher local revenues. The amount that a school district’s local revenues are higher than the guarantee level are “recaptured” monies.

Holmes said that since 1984, Campbell County School District has sent more than $1 billion back to the state.

This fiscal year, the foundation guarantee will be $22.4 million less because the district is receiving reimbursement separately for special education, due to a bill state legislators enacted in May to cooperate with federal funding requirements. The payment will be separate this year. Next year, it will come out with entitlement payments.

Ayers said he’s not concerned about cash flow, however.

He said the largest impact will be that cash reserves will be lower. Currently, school districts can retain 30% in cash reserves, as long as half of that amount isn’t spent on facilities or construction.

Going into this fiscal year, the district had a cash reserve that was slightly over $18 million, Ayers said. That will drop to about $16.9 million. In June, the district will determine whether it will transfer appreciation money or create a second 15% reserve that has restrictions.

“At the end of the day, we’ll all be fine,” Ayers said.

Budget work will continue into the summer.

In July 2022, the board approved a budget that included slating nearly 57% of general fund expenses for instruction and 15.4% for instructional support. Almost 10% will go to maintenance expenses. In terms of expenses on materials, 59% of general fund expenditures will be on salaries.

Quick stats

According to the proposed preliminary budget, the district anticipates a 3.16% increase in funding. That includes 20.34% less in special revenue funds and 47.54% more in capital projects funds.

Revenues and expenditures are supposed to rise by 3.9%. They’re balanced, with a roughly $5.56 million increase from the adopted 2022–23 $142.55 million budget to a $148.11 million budget for 2023–24.

Non-foundation revenue is listed as $28.7 million for 2023–24, up from $4.1 million in 2022–23. That includes $22.4 million through special programs reimbursement from the state.

Federal funding through capital leases rose from $405,000 to $900,000. Local sources funding is projected to rise from $150,000 to $1.75 million, while “refund/prior years” is supposed to drop from $150,000 to $10,000.

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