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New school year: Quiet start, higher enrollment

District in sound financial shape as tentative budget approved

Carl Carlson
Putnam County School superintendent
Carl Carlson Putnam County School superintendent

GRANVILLE — Carl Carlson, Putnam County School District superintendent, reported during the school board's Aug. 19 meeting that the new school year began quietly and with a higher enrollment than last year.

The district anticipated an enrollment of 835 students, but this year's total has reached 862, five more than last year's enrollment of 857. The high school estimated it would have 63 incoming freshmen, but 75 have registered.

Financially, the information provided by Carlson shows the district should be well funded as the board prepares to approve the finalized budget for the next fiscal year at its September meeting.

The district is estimating revenue of $11.5 million. For each of the past three years, the district has received more revenue than anticipated. In fiscal year 2019, it was estimated the district would receive $11.1 million, and actual revenue was nearly $11.3 million.

The evidence-based funding calculations of the district estimate the total net contribution from the state for the next fiscal year should be more than $900,000. The revenue provided by the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) is estimated at slightly more than $3 million. Last fiscal year, the district anticipated $2.2 million in CPPRT revenue, but actually received $2.6 million.

Anticipated expenditures for the next fiscal year total $12.8 million. For the past three years, the district has overestimated its expenses. In fiscal year 2019, the district anticipated $12.8 million in expenses, but successfully kept expenditures down to only $11.1 million.

"The district's goal is to maintain a strong fiscal responsibility," Carlson said.

In other news:

• High school music teacher Natalie Hulstrom shared with the board her appreciation of the support provided by having additional music educators, as well as new technology. Students now have access to the interactive software training program SmartMusic.

"Sixty-five kids a day are involved with our music programming," she said.

• Primary school Principal Ronda Cross reported on the success of the Putnam County Book Bus summer reading program. She said 352 books were checked out by students over their summer vacation, and she credited the success to adjustments in the schedule of the Book Bus's route.

"I think the adjusted times worked better for families, and we seem to found the 'sweet spot' in regards to the schedule for the bus," she said.

• The board approved Carlson moving forward in researching the possible purchase of a small auxiliary vehicle. Carlson has spoken with Granville's Cioni Ford about purchasing a 2017 Ford Explorer with roughly 36,000 miles for an estimated $29,000. He added the cost of the vehicle would easily be offset by the district not having to pay rental fees to the bus company every time they need an additional vehicle for extra-curricular activities.

"I think this is the type of purchase where it'd be good for us to keep it within our district," Carlson told the board.

• The board approved the renewal of the $3 million IHSA catastrophic insurance policy for $991, which is $30 less than last year.

• The next Putnam County School District Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16.

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