Just before students head back into the buildings of the Havre Public School districts, the Board of Trustees figured out how to pay the $13 million to educate them through the 2012-2013 school year.
The balanced budget, which required no additional levies this year, is a few hundred thousand dollars higher than last year’s, because of both last year’s enrollment boost and $20,000 the state gave for a recent interlocal agreement between the elementary and high school districts.
Last year’s budget ended up with a large surplus, used to buy 500 iPads for this year’s students, that District Clerk Mike Arnold said mostly came from unused utility funds from last winter.
“We had a light winter so that wasn’t hit as bad as the prior year with cold and snow all over, ” Arnold said.
While this year’s budget has been worked out, some district officials are worried about next year, if the current enrollment figures don’t go up a lot in the next month or two.
Last fall, about 180 students were enrolled in kindergarten, unexpectedly more than the average 150. So far this fall, Havre Public School’s Superintendent Andy Carlson said only about 120 kindergartners have been enrolled.
Karla Wohlwend, director of personnel and special services, said that the schools have traditionally gotten a small boost around Labor Day or when Montana State University-Northern students with children return to town. While that didn’t happen last year, no one minded because of the existing abundance of new students. But with this year’s figures, losing those late boosts could lower the school’s funding for the next school year.