The Fairbanks Local School District received the Auditor of State Award for the 2022 fiscal year!
Fairbanks is applying for federal funds for Title I, Title II-A, IDEA, and Early Childhood. Public input on how those funds will be expended is welcome.
The operational financial health continues to be very stable for the Fairbanks Local School District. Stability is within a 3-year projected time frame. The state finalized a 2-year biennial budget this summer, and fortunately kept our state funding stable, with a 2% and 3% increase in our state funding for the next two years. Our local revenue continues to be stable with continued economic growth (Property and Income) from valuation updates and new construction. The renewal of our "substitute" emergency levy recently has put the district on a continued path of stability. Federal grant funding (ESSER) has provided additional resources through 2024. This funding is mostly tied to student learning with a portion put towards facility upgrades.
So what about the long term? The longer term is always much harder to project. Our State Funding still has not been settled long term with a current phase in of a new funding formula. Our state funding will most likely remain the same over time, unless there is much more student growth in the district. The financial condition of the State plays a role in our funding. So we continually have to watch where the state is financially. The economy moving forward will impact the district financially. Income and property tax both move with the local and state economy.
The expenditure side of district operations obviously plays a role in our financial future. Student, staffing and facility needs come into play.
In summary, we continue to feel good about the short term financial health of the district. The local and state economy, inflation, and how our state funding continues will ultimately impact the long term financial health of the district. The district continues to strive in meeting the needs of the students and district while being responsible to the district taxpayers.
School funding starts with the State's premise of a shared responsibility between them and the local community.
Schools typically have to pass levies to help fund operations and improve buildings.
General Property Tax includes Residential, Agricultural, and Commercial property located in the district. General Property Tax for operations is levied at approximately 26.6 mills, with 20 mills being unvoted minimum collected by law, and voted (now "substitute") emergency operating levy of 6.6 mills. Emergency levy brings in $1,679,000 per year for operations. This is a five-year levy that was renewed in 2018. There is also debt millage for the elementary outside of operations at approximately 3 mills.School funding starts with the State's premise that funding is a shared responsibility between them and the local community. The State provides some basic aid funding, but then relies on local communities to provide the remaining necessary funds. How much State aid we receive typically is a function of the number of students and property wealth per the number of students in the district. Schools would not be able to provide the services and programs without local support. Below is a current breakdown of Fairbanks district revenues. Property tax allocation would be considered State Assistance.
Income tax is .75% for operations. There is also a separate .25% income tax for permanent improvements only. Permanent Improvement levy is for 5 years with a current expiration in 2021. Permanent Improvements are tangible assets or improvements to facilities/buildings.
Property Tax allocation includes a 12.5% Homestead/Rollback the state pays on behalf of home owners.
Recent permanent improvements to the district include:
New flooring and ceiling tile in the Middle School
New Lockers in the Middle School
Masonry and joint repair in the Elementary School
Pavement repair at the schools and bus garage
HVAC in the weight room
Since schools are service organizations, approximately 75-80% of the budget goes to personnel staffing (Salaries, Wages, Benefits). We have 118 full and part-time staff members made up of Teachers, Bus drivers, Maintenance and Custodial, Support staff, and Administration.
Bus repair services
Copier Leases and Printing
County Auditor/Treasurer Fees
Instructional Support Services and Professional Development
Maintenance Repairs and Contract Services
Special Education Services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychologist)
Tuition to other schools for Special Education, Community, and Charter Schools.
Utilities, Heat (Natural Gas), Electric, Phone
Bus parts and supplies
Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies.
Diesel fuel for bus transportation
Instructional Materials and Textbooks
Major Building Improvements/Upgrades