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PHS hopes for the best with finances

PRINCETON – Princeton High School ended its 2013 fiscal year in better shape than anticipated and Superintendent Kirk Haring hopes for the same with the 2014 fiscal year.

At Monday’s meeting of the PHS board of education, Haring reviewed the two budgets, saying Fiscal Year 2013 ended the year with a positive balance in all funds of $1.2 million, pending the audit. The Fiscal Year 2014 summary sheet shows a projected negative balance of $2,120,303 in all funds at the end of the Fiscal Year 2104.

In looking at the budgets, Haring said the district issued $1,530,000 in Health/Life Safety bonds in Fiscal Year 2013 to pay for work which will be completed and paid for in Fiscal Year 2014. Reserves will be used to offset any negative balances in any of the funds at the end of Fiscal Year 2014.

“With the tentative budget, we present a worst-case scenario with the expectation we will finish the year stronger than projected,” Haring said.

Looking at revenue for the district, Haring said general state aid continues to decline as a direct result of a lower Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Enrollment has been decreasing since he came to the district in 2008. PHS currently has 536 students.

Also, there is no more Hold Harmless funding for districts, which was a huge hit financially for PHS, Haring said. The community taxpayers continue to pay more than their share, he said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board began a discussion on goals for the board.

In the financial section of goals, the board agreed to look at continued areas in which PHS could share expenses, such as transportation and purchases, with Princeton Elementary School District, as well as other districts or agencies. Another financial goal would be to seek a resolution for the district’s special needs cooperative.

As a fairly new board member, Al Taylor said he would like to learn more about what is currently being done in the sharing of expenses with other districts. After further discussion, the board agreed it would be good for the board to have a general summary of that information on a periodic basis.

Board member Gary Coates said he thinks the community would also like to know what is being done in cost-sharing measures. It would be good to get that information out to the public, he said.

In another goal, the board discussed the need to continue successfully negotiating and communicating with staff. Communication is the key to a successful school system, the board agreed.

Another discussed goal was for board members to attend meetings on legislation affecting school districts and also to be in contact with the district’s legislators each semester.

The board is expected to continue its goal discussions in coming months.

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