GFPS budget vote set for Aug. 22

The Great Falls Public Schools board of trustees will meet for a special meeting Aug. 22 to consider the 2019-2020 budget.

During the Aug. 19 school board meeting, GFPS staff reviewed the proposed budget.

Brian Patrick, GPFS director of operations, said a number of factors impacted this year’s budget including legislative changes, the Calumet tax protest, no levy request, inflation adjustment, additional state funding, the taxable valuation and student numbers.

GFPS looking at budget options to absorb projected shortfall

During the Aug. 22 meeting, the board will consider approving multiple funds that make up the GFPS budget, which totals $96.8 million.

The Aug. 22 meeting is 5:30 p.m. at the district office, 1100 4th St. S., the agenda is available here.

Patrick said school districts are required to set their budgets at dollar levels, so if the value of a mill increases, the district levies fewer mills.

GFPS to forgo levy this year

The budget includes the transportation fund, which is a mix of state, county and local money. The district is reimbursed by the state based on miles covered by bus routes and the size of the buses. The bus depreciation fund allows buses to be depreciated up to 150 percent of the original cost and the annual amount can’t exceed 20 percent. Patrick said the purpose of the fund is to be able to set money aside so the district is able to replace buses versus running them until they’re unsafe.

The technology fund includes a permanent levy with $150,000 for the elementary and $75,000 for the high school districts.

Patrick said that the technology levy will run permanently unless an increased amount is requested and approved by the voters and then the levy would run for 10 years.

Salaries make up 84-86 percent of the budget, Patrick said.

The budget includes:

  • 1 percent increase for 152 non-union, classified personnel, an overall increase of $9,795 for a total of $989,329 for this group;
  • a change to the salary structure for teacher aides. This employee group includes about 65 employees and this year will include an increase of 59 cents per hour, an overall increase of $41,205 for a total of $661,458 for the group;
  • 1 percent increase for the 98 employees in the paraeducator group for an increase of $16,000 and a total of $1.59 million for the group;
  • 1 percent increase for the support personnel group, which includes 33 employees, for an increase of $13,577 and a total of $1.37 million for the group;
  • 1 percent increase for the 48 employees in the administrator, principal and supervisor group. The increase equates to $40,961 percent for a total of $4.14 million for the group.