By Desiree Williams
The Zionsville Community Schools board of trustees held a public hearing Oct. 9 to discuss the district’s 2018 proposed budget. Chief Financial Officer Mike Shafer led a presentation that outlined five key points.
1. How much is ZCS going to spend?
The budget estimates ZCS will spend $80.1 million in 2018 with 75.17 percent going toward instruction, 11.25 percent toward maintenance and utilities, 11.78 percent toward administration and clerical services and 1.82 percent for other expenses. Instruction costs include teachers’ salaries and benefits as well as teachers’ supplies and more.
The budget also accounts for the debt service fund, which Shafer said will continue to decrease. Since refinancing bonds in 2005, more than $106 million in principal has been paid off. Shafer said ZCS is about halfway done making debt repayments through 2029.
ZCS plans to purchase two large buses this year, as well as one smaller one. Shafer said it would be ideal to purchase seven new buses per year.
2. What revenue and resources will support these expenses?
Revenue will be a combination of 52 percent from state funding, 43 percent from property taxes and 5 percent from other sources.
State aid is determined by enrollment, with its funding per pupil is divided into two categories. Each district receives a set amount per pupil, and additional funds per pupil are calculated based on factors relating to poverty in the district. ZCS receives the least amount of funding per pupil in Indiana, which Shafer said has been the case for years.
3. Will the budget be balanced?
Yes, all funds are expected to be balanced. Shafer said ZCS is planning ahead so that any changes to debt service fund regulations do not affect the balance or tax rates.
4. What does the proposed budget mean for taxpayers?
The 2018 property tax bill should be roughly the same as last year for all homeowners. In 2015, ZCS was rated 16 out of 20 when comparing property tax rate with peer communities. In 2017, ZCS dropped to 18th place when the tax rate decreased. Shafer credits the decrease to savings from the debt service fund and good management by the Town of Zionsville.
5. What is the district’s long-term outlook?
– Shafer said the outlook is fair for the foreseeable future, but also dependent upon continuity in state funding formulas and tax rates.
The school board is expected to vote on the budget at its next meeting at 6 p. m. Oct. 23.