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School budget steady

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Mary Stroka, NLJ Reporter

On May 6, during the Newcastle school board’s preliminary budget hearing, business manager Angela Holliday provided some early estimates regarding the district’s budget for the 2024-25 school year. She said the preliminary budget is due May 15 and there will be a final budget hearing on July 17.

Holliday said at the meeting that the district’s average daily membership, a school attendance measurement, stayed steady this year, at 769.245, and the budget model is 769.123. She said in an email on May 14 that the estimated revenue for fiscal year 2024 was $13,163,000 and she anticipates that the district will receive an estimated $13,789,453.05 from state and local revenues for fiscal 2025. The district anticipates a $1 million carryover, but that amount will not be finalized until the school year ends, she said at the meeting.

Health insurance has increased by 16%, as the News Letter Journal has previously reported. The district will continue using Delta Dental for dental insurance for fiscal 2025. While the cost of dental insurance for the district rose 3.5%, it remained “a little cheaper” than the Wyoming Educators’ Benefit Trust’s dental plan, according to Holliday. She said in her email that WEBT’s plan was “a couple hundred dollars” more than the district’s plan.

The district spent all of its capital construction fund this year, and there is no debt service fund, Holliday said.

Food services appropriations were about $400,000, she said. The district has not yet supplemented the fund with money from the general fund for fiscal 2024, according to Holliday, who said that she learned on May 6 that food services reported $7,500 in unpaid lunches.

At the meeting, she said she does not yet have numbers for the recreation district, but last year’s amount was $118,000 from the one-mill levy. That funding covers wages for swimming pool, recreation director and weight room wages, she said.

Figures are not yet available regarding the major maintenance revenue, she said. Last year, the revenue was about $840,000, she said in her email.

The Eastern Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services has its preliminary budget meeting on May 15, Holliday said at the meeting. The one-half mill generated about $80,000 for the 2023-24 school year.

Superintendent Brad LaCroix said at the meeting that he hopes BOCES will consider the volume of participation that the school district has in the concurrent and dual enrollment programs when it conducts its reexamination of funding for its various outreach offices.

“We haven’t heard on that yet,” Holliday said at the meeting.

The trustees unanimously approved publishing its intent to levy one-half mill for Northeast Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services and one mill for Eastern Weston County Recreation District.

School Happenings

Notes from the May 6, 2024, meeting of the Weston County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees

• The school board approved a bid proposal to refinish the Dogie Dome gym floor. Trustees also approved a proposal to replace the competition pool lighting at an estimated cost of $5,500.

• Title I math teacher Marti Ostenson introduced the school board to Newcastle Elementary School fifth grade students who are “morning mentors” for kindergarten students who need extra practice beyond class time. She said that the “morning mentors” work one-on-one with each of their students on assigned activities, and the students have built positive relationships.

• The board approved “with regret” the resignation of Newcastle High School English teacher Jessica Troftgruben. “Speaking for myself but on behalf of the veterans, thank you, for that portion that you do to honor us veterans and get their stories out,” Vice Chair Jason Jenkins said.

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