District 911 approves $48M 2014-15 preliminary budget

The Cambridge-Isanti School Board approved its preliminary budget for 2014-15 during its June 19 board meeting.

Director of Finance and Operations Robyn Vosberg-Torgerson and District Accountant Kris Crocker presented the budget information.

They explained the budget is a “road map” or guide for the school, and it’s very likely that modifications and amendments to the budget will be necessary.

An estimated 86.4 percent of the revenue the district receives comes from the state, 2.8 percent from the federal government, 5.15 percent from local property taxes and 5.6 percent from other local sources such as fees, rent and grants. An estimated 77 percent of the general fund expenditures are spent on salaries and benefits.

Vosberg-Torgerson explained the general fund budget assumptions were based on an enrollment projection of 4,989 district students.

As far as budget expenditures, Vosberg-Torgerson explained all the contracts are settled; three additional buses were needed for all-day, every-day kindergarten; supplies; additional support; strategic planning; innovation grants and eight additional classrooms are being furnished: four at Cambridge Primary and four at Isanti Primary for all-day, every-day kindergarten.

Total general fund revenue is set at $46.53 million for fiscal year 2015, an increase of 11 percent from fiscal year 2014. Vosberg-Torgerson explained the general education aid from the state increased and the district is receiving an additional $512 per pupil unit through local levies.

Total general fund expenses is set at $48.11 million for fiscal year 2015, an increase of 8.4 percent from fiscal year 2014.

Vosberg-Torgerson explained the increases are due to increases in salary and benefits through contract negotiations, additional positions, capital improvements and the purchase of additional busses.

Superintendent evaluation

On May 22, the board met in closed session to review the board evaluation of Superintendent Dr. Ray Queener, and Board Chair Tim Hitchings provided a summary of the session.

Evaluation questions for Queener ranged from community involvement and staff relations to communication with the board, and board members rated his performance on a scale of 1-5 or unable to answer. A rating of 1 is unacceptable performance, and a 5 is outstanding performance.

Queener’s average evaluation score was 4.8 for all questions and the report said the board feels Queener is doing an excellent job in performing his duties as superintendent.

Part of the superintendent’s contract is a performance incentive. Based on the evaluation for the 2013-2014 school year, the board has awarded the performance incentive to Queener in light of the quality of work he has done this past school year.

The board will meet in the near future to set goals and criteria for Queener. These will be used in his evaluation for the 2014-2015 school year. The board thanked Queener for his time commitment and his excellent performance this past year.