Norris Superintendent’s Report: 2018-19 Board Budget Work Session

Norris Superintendent’s Report: 2018-19 Board Budget Work Session

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Norris Board held its annual budget preview study session on  Monday, August 27th. The Notice of Special Hearing to Set Final Tax Request and the Budget Hearing will be published in the Voice News.

Valuation: Total district valuation increased 2.7%, and is currently sitting at $1,491,531,381. Valuation snapshot This is the lowest total increase to district valuation in the last decade.

State Aid: State aid to the Norris School District has been cut by over 7% for the 2018-19 school year from last year. The state aid the district receives is the lowest total since the 2002-2003 school year, when Norris had 1,648 students. Current enrollment is just over 2,400.

Norris state aid history

The district's state aid is 322K less in 2018-19 than it was in 2017-18, which was also 320K less than the year prior.  71% of Norris' formula needs are provided through local effort, symptomatic of the state’s overreliance on local property taxes to fund K-12 education.  

The projected levy for 2018-19 is 1.1578, or slightly less than the 2017-18 levy of 1.1594. For the last four years the district has managed to hold the levy largely consistent at 1.15 despite cuts to state aid and increased costs as a result of annual growth.

District long-term debt is $21.5 million. (Long-term payout projection on all current debt is 2032.) Issuances and refundings are described in the audit excerpt here. Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a Aa3 rating to Norris (2017 ratings call).

The total budget of disbursements and transfers for the General Fund for 2018-19 is projected to be $27.08 million.  

Key budgetary commitments to accomplish objectives related to the Norris Strategic Plan will address Communications and Engagement.

Due to the failure of the November, 2017 bond issue to gain passage, the district is prioritizing and accomplishing systems-critical operations expenditures through use of the Special Building fund and depreciation. We will examine the possible use of QCPUFs for lagoon cell repairs and accessibility issues based on determination of bonds counsel related to eligibility.

The key fiscal management strategy for fending off cuts in the wake of perennial cuts to state aid should valuation slide is to have cash reserve status sufficient to ride out a recessionary environment. Cash reserve is also necessary in order to meet district obligations (payroll and purchases) in months where tax receipts are lower.

Questions about the Norris School District budget can be directed to the Superintendent’s office at 402-791-0000 or by emailing