DeWitt: School Funding

The school funding in the DeWitt School District has several revisions made to it by

several people before it is instituted and approved.  First, the director of finance must prepare a

budget.  Second, the budget must be looked at by the superintendant and revised.  Third, the

superintendant must submit the budget to the school board for the final revisions.  Lastly, the

school board will again revise and then approve the budget.

            Bill Melching, the Director of Finance and Operation and Support Staff Personnel, is in

charde of the development of the original budget that will later be handed over to the

superintendant for review.  During the early stages of the budget, Melching has to weigh how

much revenue the district has gained through taxes, transfers and state and federal funding so he

can decide what to spend on the pupil, instructional, school administraion, maintenace and

personnel areas in the district.

            “I oversee the business office, budget accounting payroll, transportation, food service,

maintenance operations and I am head of the non-instructional non-certified staff,” said

Melching.  “The overall budget for the district is $23.5 million.  A large percent of the budget

comes from the state.”

            School of Choice and No Child Left Behind can affect a school’s funding negatively. 

However, the DeWitt schools do not currently allow school of choice because they are at

capacity; nor have they lost any money to No Child Left Behind because they have met all of the

standards required to keep their funding.  School of choice is a year-by-year decision that the

school board makes; DeWitt hasn’t had school for several years.

            Once the budget has been passed on to the superintendant, she then has to review it

before its submission to the school board.  “I am totally responsible for developing the school

budget and presenting it to the board,” said Superintendant Tina Templin.

            The school board approves the budget in June in accordance with state law.  The budget

is updated by the school board several times before a final budget is agreed upon.  “Through past

history we take a guess on a number for the budget, come fall we get more accurate numbers,

and then around December we have to revise the budget to attain more accurate numbers,” said

DeWitt School Board Member Tina Laurent.  This is the process for the budget of that academic

year.

            The budget for a given academic year is already being worked on in January of the

previous academic year.  “Mr. Melching and Mrs. Templin will start out with a basic budget,

take last year’s numbers and tweak them upon what we know for the next year.  They are giving

us numbers based on the info we have,” said Laurent.

            The final bank account, after distributing funds for the 2007-2008 school years, for the

DeWitt Public Schools is $3,611,361. 

            However, prior to 2003, DeWitt was struggling with keeping up with more modern

school technology.  “I know for a long time that we were at the bottom of pupil funding.  I know

for years we didn’t get an increase in funding.  We wanted to do something different than the

previous board.  We knew that technology was critical,” said former schoold board member and

now city council member Tony Stoker.

            DeWitt has an overall budget of $23,431,112 for the 2007-2008 academic years.  Their

expenditures only exceeded the budget by $41,103.

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