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2019-20 Budget Moves More Dollars to Instruction

April 24, 2019

The Lindbergh Schools Board of Education reviewed a balanced 2019-20 budget on April 23 that accomplishes three key district goals: allocating more funding to programming for students, professional learning, and employee compensation. The district has accomplished these goals by adopting a hybrid zero-based budgeting process, which includes examining expenditures line-by-line to find efficiencies and reduce waste. The Board of Education will vote to adopt the 2019-20 budget in June, which includes approximately $76 million in operating expenditures.

"This budget was created using a philosophy that we will work to allocate as much money as possible toward student programs, professional learning and salaries,” said Superintendent Dr. Tony Lake. “It’s an overall change in mindset about how we build a school district budget, one that allows us to closely examine how every dollar is spent."

In addition to adopting the hybrid zero-based budgeting approach, the district is also implementing monthly budget amendments as needed and staffing guidelines that, combined with enrollment projections, will allow for better, more efficient planning. In addition, the Finance Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2018-19, will continue to meet monthly during each school year. This committee includes patrons, administrators and board members who review and provide feedback on the budget each month.

The 2019-20 proposed budget also includes additional funding for ongoing facilities improvements, which would be guided by a Facilities Planning Committee that includes district residents, employees, administrators and board members. In addition, the Board of Education voted to adopt the 2019-20 collective bargaining agreement and salary schedule for Lindbergh teachers on Tuesday night.   On April 22, representatives from the Lindbergh NEA and district’s bargaining teams signed the agreement, successfully concluding the 2019 negotiations cycle. This year’s budget efficiencies, combined with an increase in revenues, resulted in a new salary schedule that provides more competitive salaries for all teachers.

Central Office departments and both middle schools took the lead this year in combing their spending budgets line-by-line and finding efficiencies and savings to put back toward classroom instruction. This model process will continue to be developed and  rolled out districtwide in the future.

"This process took more time but it also allowed more transparency among our staff in regard to what we are spending,” said Dr. Mike Straatmann, Truman Middle School principal. “It opened up good dialogue to make sure we are supporting necessary systems and programs."

Lindbergh’s local blended tax rate is estimated at $3.88 for 2019-20, which includes an estimated 46 cent operating rollback to hold taxpayers harmless. This rate is composed of the operating rate, which pays for day-to-day expenditures, and the debt service rate, which pays for principal and interest on debt for capital improvements. Based on current AV data estimates which will  not be final until late September, the district will roll back its operating tax rate by 46 cents to hold taxpayers harmless for a 17 percent average increase in assessed valuation of property. Missouri state law requires school districts to roll back the tax rate when assessed valuation increases by more than the consumer price index.  In addition, voters approved Prop R in April, a $105 million no-tax-rate-increase bond issue that will not increase the debt service tax rate of .833 cents and will fund renovation of LHS and safety improvements districtwide.