Sheridan School Board adopts budget, taxpayers see some relief

SHERIDAN – At their regular meeting in August the Sheridan School Board adopted budgets for the elementary and high school for the 2012/13 school year.

At the outset of their discussion on the matter, district superintendent Kim Harding called the board’s attention to excess funds in the adopted budget reserved for both the elementary and high schools.

The high school had 10.24 percent of their adopted budget reserved while the elementary school came in at 10.23 percent. Harding explained that the additional funds came from two different sources, one being a successful lawsuit from the winter of 2011 where a combination of school districts sued the state for not receiving a raise for the cost of inflation. This money was awarded to the districts in May of this year.

The other source of additional funds came from an emergency enrollment increase awarded to the district by the Montana Office of Public Instruction for both the high school and elementary school.

Harding explained that while neither event increased the maximum budget allowable without a vote, it did reduce the burden to local taxpayers. In the high school district, only $7,848 will be required from taxpayers of the $18,375 mill levy that passed this spring. While the $67,380 mill levy for the elementary school district failed this year, taxpayers would have actually been asked to pay $52,581.

The elementary school district will collect 30.13 mills and the high school district will collect 18.05 mills for the 2012/13 school year. Last year the elementary school collected 30.66 mills while the high school collected 24.20 mills.

During the meeting the board received a presentation on the Montana Educational Consortium from Fred Seidensticker, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development. Seidensticker explained the purpose of the consortium is essentially to work together with small school districts like Sheridan to develop their educational programs and produce the most well-rounded graduates possible, adding that smaller districts tend to embrace the concept because it can be difficult for superintendents who also serve as school principals to cover new curriculum material and professional development by themselves.

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