The governing board of the Lake Havasu Unified School District unanimously approved the system’s $47 million budget for 2019-20 at its meeting Monday evening.

Differing little from the previous year’s plan, the document also showed an accumulated carry over of $4,834,866.

Of that amount, the board also unanimously voted to spend $1,110,193 to pay off the remaining balance of the district’s 2014 solar project. The move will save the district $180,000 in interest. The district’s Business Services Director Mike Murray said there is no prepayment penalty tied to the loan.

Formal adoption of the budget was a quick process, perhaps largely due to that fact that no members of the public offered questions or comments when asked by Kathy Cox, the board’s president. Board members had previously spent 90 minutes reviewing the proposed document when Murray presented it at the board’s June 27 meeting.

At that time, Murray explained that the budget’s revenue calculations are heavily reliant on “average daily membership.” ADM is the number of students the district actively serves. The State of Arizona pays the district $6,885 per pupil, bringing in $29 million. District schools have 260 teachers and 5,300 students.

Part of that $29 million revenue stream also includes a one percent boost from the state that is tied to a Teacher Experience Index. The more experienced a district’s teachers are, the more money the state can award. For the local district, it brought in an extra $72,000.

Other income flows in from grants and other federal and state sources. Some costs are offset by revenue generated, such as the school lunch program. Transportation brings in another $904,444. That revenue is calculated based on the number of riders and miles traveled, among other criteria. The district’s annual audit expense of $38,250 is reimbursed.

As for expenses, the district’s maintenance and operations budget is $38,387,364 in the plan. That’s a 5.6% increase over the previous year.

The spending plan reflects a 3% increase in teacher pay. The average salary of all teachers employed in fiscal year 2020 is $45,387. It was $43,955 in fiscal year 2019. That salary does not include stipends, benefits or Prop 301 money. Prop 301 adds another $6,000 to $7,000 to a teacher’s base pay. The base pay for teachers in the district is $37,500.

“We actually budget about $57,000 for each teacher which includes the 301 money, retirement insurance and other benefits,” board member John Masden previously said.

Overall, the new budget is a near-mirror image of the 2018-19 plan.

“We are projecting that revenues will be fairly flat, so we tried to budget flat,” Murray said at his initial presentation.

Last year’s budget was $40.8 million, about $6 million less than this year’s proposed budget.

Pam Ashley can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or pashley@havasunews.com.

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