Proposed budget approved for Bloomfield schools

Savings from teacher vacancies helps balance proposed budget for 2016-2017 school year

Joshua Kellogg

BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield School District is looking at a balanced budget for the upcoming school year as cash savings from the current school year will help pay for increases in expenses.

The district's Board of Education approved a proposed budget of $25.95 million for the 2016-2017 school year during its meeting Tuesday night.

The proposed budget is about $480,000 larger than the $25.47 million budget for the current 2015-2016 school year, said Anna Redding, the district's director of finance.

“The overall health of the district is in very good shape,” Redding said. “We did not have a huge decrease in our enrollment.”

Enrollment for the district dropped eight students from 2,997 students for the 2014-2015 school year to 2,989 students for the current school year, according to Redding’s presentation to the board members.

Redding said the district had about $684,000 in budget savings for the current school year.

The $684,000 in budget savings will cover an increase of about $645,000 in operating expenses for the upcoming school year.

The district saved about $500,000 in salaries and benefits due to long-term substitutes filling vacant teacher positions, Redding said.

Superintendent Kim Mizell said the district is working hard to find certified teachers to fill a number of positions across the district.

“We’re faced with a lot of challenges,” Mizell said. “We were able to save money, but at the same time, we hate to save money with the lack of teachers for students, and that’s always a concern.”

The remaining $184,000 in budget savings for the current school year come from expenses for health insurance and utilities costing less than projected, Redding said.

Most of the additional expenses for the upcoming school year come from adding seven new positions in the district, including five at Bloomfield High School.

In the proposed budget, about $319,000 is budgeted for new positions for the Bloomfield High School gifted and special education departments, and for a career and college readiness adviser.

A part-time finance clerk and a math teacher position at Charlie Y. Brown High School also will be added.

An 8 percent increase in medical insurance will cost the district an additional $155,000 next school year.

About $125,000 is budgeted for staff changes, including salary increases.

“We’re in a good (financial) position, and we’re healthy,” Mizell said. “We feel good about what we have been able to get accomplished.”

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.