By Tim Leeds
The Havre Board of Trustees adopted a final budget for the Havre Public Schools on Tuesday.
The action froze the budget for the high school at about $3.8 million, last year's level of spending, and approved a slight decrease for the middle and elementary schools with a budget of about $5.95 million. The budget includes an increase in mills for the high school approved by voters last spring.
Director of operations Ric Floren told the board that a combination of reduced taxable valuation of property in the district and declining enrollment caused the need to freeze and reduce the budgets, although increased revenue from oil and gas production has helped to offset the loss of money.
With the decrease in funding available for the high school, an increase in the mill levy was required to raise revenue equal to last year's budget.
Budget caps prohibited an increase in the mill levy for the middle and elementary schools.
Floren told the board he believes the district has maximized its ability to provide a quality education at a reasonable price. He added that the district is continuing to look for ways to increase the return on each dollar it spends to educate students.
More difficulties lie ahead for the district in finding funding for the schools, Floren said, but he believes the district can find solutions. Havre Public Schools is better prepared than many districts to meet the future needs of students, he added.