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Schools present 2018 budgets

Proposed budget plans for the three Harrison County public school systems for 2018 have been, or are about to be, adopted. The schools then must wait until January to find out how much funding the state will award each school according to the Indiana Dept. of Local Government Finance formula.
Lanesville has an advertised rate of 45 cents per $100 of assessed value for the capital projects fund, but the proposal will be put through the state formula for final determination.
‘Once the DLGF approves the budget early next year, they use a formula which effectively reduces the capital projects rate from 45 cents to around 26 to 27 cents per $100 of assessed value,’ Steve Morris, superintendent of the Lanesville Community School Corp., said.
One other part of school budgets is the bus replacement plan, which Lanesville has advertised as 2 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The tax rate for the North Harrison Community School Corp. is estimated by Supt. Dr. Lance Richards as being around 69 cents per $100 of assessed value. That number is subject to change due to tax assessments within the corporation.
The South Harrison Community School Corp. has advertised the tax assessment values at $800,000 corporation wide and school officials believe that number is conservative, having seen actual tax values at more than $1 billion.
Both North and South Harrison school corporations are waiting for their actual assessed values to be approved in order to set their rates.
Richards gave a detailed explanation of the proposed North Harrison budget to school board members and attendees at their board meeting Sept. 14. The focus was to show publicly the process of putting together a massive and important budget with taxpayers, administration and students in mind.
‘I am making a budget based on an estimate of what I think the assessed values might be,’ he said. ‘The fallacy of this is that the state will only give me what they give me.’
Richards explained his focus in creating a budget is to be accurate with estimations. Not having current figures to base his calculations on creates issues.
‘Our debt service, capital projects, transportation and bus replacement are all local property taxes,’ he said. ‘I don’t know my assessed values. The process is me making a guess about a tax rate that I think we might have based on a number I don’t really know.’
Richards also spoke about the budget process changes for 2019.
‘They (the state) haven’t given us a lot of guidance, but we know it’s coming,’ he said.
Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent of the SHCSC, spoke of the need to look at ways to control costs and utilize funds in the future.
‘If we can be conservative with utilities, for example, or renegotiate a contract, then we aren’t saving that, we are creating more opportunities,’ he said.
The changes in 2019 are due to House Enrolled Act 1009, which eliminates multiple funds and requires schools to maintain only an education and operations fund.
The Education Fund is to be used exclusively to pay expenses allocated to student instruction and learning.
The Operations Fund allows transfers from any account not allocated to the educational fund.
Morris looks at this change positively.
‘We do not buy buses every year, so it benefits Lanesville to have those funds available to us for use in other areas to improve our building,’ he said.

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