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UPDATE: Increased State Funding, Layoffs Play Into Final Budget Picture for Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Schools

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school board unanimously passed a $348 million final budget for 2011-12.

The  wrapped up its months-long budgeting process at its regular meeting on Monday night—unanimously for 2011-12, about 1.3 percent less than last year's $352 million.

Most taxpayers will pay less in taxes to the school district than they did the previous year; the board for 2011 (payable 2012), which is 3.27 percent less than . The owner of a $232,399 average-value home in the district would pay $17 less than last year's average-value home owner.

The majority of the district’s total budget, or roughly $297 million, will flow to the district’s general fund this year. Other smaller funds, including the food service, debt service and special education funds make up the remainder of the total budget.

Roughly 83 percent of the district's general fund expenses—or roughly $247 million—is earmarked for staff salaries and benefits. Another $5.7 million will pay for capital expenditures, while purchased services comprise roughly $24 million of the total general fund budget.

General fund revenue for 2011-12, the budget shows, is a little more than $292 million, 73 percent of which comes from state aid. Despite a projected operating deficit of $4.4 million this year, to be filled with fund balance, the district’s finances are in better shape than expected, District 196 Finance Director Jeff Solomon said.

“In the preliminary budget, the district , and actually what occurred through the legislative session was that we received a 1 percent increase [in revenue]," Solomon said. "So, there's a change of over slightly 4 percent for our state funding for this year."

There were many other items that shaped the budget, a preliminary version of which was adopted in June. 

In March, the board , resulting in 48 job cuts. The district also decided in April to lay off 93 non-tenured teachers.

The district did , including an $10 increase in high school sports and fine arts fees, which provided another $70,000 in increased revenue.

The district was able to avoid cutting another $5 million in the budget by using one-time federal funding that became available last year. In August, the board also —a decision prompted by the limited increase in state funding and the impact of the state’s new Market Value Exclusion program, which it was predicted would lead to increases in tax rates throughout much of the state.

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