The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board is proposing a 2019-20 school budget that increases 3.8 percent.
The proposed budget, last discussed at the board’s January 23 meeting, is $38,600,862, up from last year’s $37,183,150.
The cost per pupil is also rising this year from $17,137 to $17,968, an increase of $831, or 4.8 percent. The equalized homestead tax rate for FY2020 is 1.68 and has risen 0.5 percent. See chart for multiyear local homestead tax rates.
Specific line items reveal STEM/technology education spending is going down from $288,618 to $150,996, according to Michelle Baker, director of finance and operations for the district. She said that reflects the reduction of the tech ed teacher at Crossett Brook next school year. Crossett Brook is looking to discontinue the tech ed program and implement a new sustainability/STEM system. “In addition, the STEM supplies and materials are reduced at Harwood per request of the STEM teachers as they anticipate needing less supplies next year given current inventory and class offerings,” said Baker.
Student support services went up from this budget season from $234,102 to $446,253. This was due to the addition of a school-based clinician from Washington County Mental Health budgeted for the four Valley elementary schools plus the dean of students position at Crossett Brook. Baker noted that this is a new teaching position that replaced the former support position of planning room coordinator. The increase also reflects changes in employee benefits elected by employees.
School board expenses showed a decrease from $134,338, to $102,920. The decrease is from legal and advertising expenses originally budgeted in the school districts which is now included in the central office budget.
School administration prices went from $2,089,339 to $2,234,166, an increase of $144,827. When asked, Baker said, “There is no change in the number of school administrators in the budget. The increase is due to the addition of the middle school principal position at Harwood this year, which is included in the budget for FY2020. Central office special education is increased due to a change in the selection of employee benefits for employees in this category.”
Food service prices are rising from $114,930 to $204,026. In a question to a line item referring to the transfer to food service fund, Baker said that it’s “money from the general fund budget transferred to cover the anticipated difference between the cost of the food services program and the revenue collected in the program via meal sales and federal and state revenues.”
In a line item for other purchased services, an increase from $2,563,975 to $3,014,569 was due to contracts. Baker is also in charge of busing services and contracts. “This increase is for a number of items including the 2.8 percent increase in the bus transportation contract, increases in special education tuition for students on IEPs, and an increase in advertising expense,” said Baker.