In addition to the cloudy revenue picture, the school district could face an increase of up to 5 percent for health care costs.
School of the Osage officials project a continuation of flat revenues for the coming year.
As a result, the board of education recently adopted what Supt. Brent Depeé calls a conservative budget for the 2017-18 school year.
"We still don't know what 80 percent of our revenues will be for next year because we don't have assessed valuation information from Camden or Miller counties yet," he told the board during budget discussions in late June.
The Osage fiscal year is July 1 to June 30, and the board adopted the 2017-18 budget June 26.
"We do have a lot of hurdles ahead of us," he said.
In addition to the cloudy revenue picture, the school district could face an increase of up to 5 percent for health care costs. Potential changes in the federal health care plan also could impact the district's expenses.
The adopted budget reflects deficit spending of $166,000, Depeé noted, although he anticipates revenues to actually be higher than projected. He also noted that Osage never spends everything it budgets, and some revenue comes late in the year.
"There are a lot of what-ifs," he told the board
School of the Osage's revenue picture is slightly behind the curve compared to other districts outside the Lake of the Ozarks area. Depeé was hired as superintendent six years ago during the worst of the Great Recession.
"I came from a heavily state- and federally-funded school district, and they felt the recession right away," he noted. "Osage didn't feel it right away. We seem to be about three years behind. Most superintendents are now seeing from 5- to 15-percent increases in their counties' assessed valuations, but we're not seeing that yet."
He hopes Osage will begin to see a turn-around in assessed valuation in the next couple of years. New construction taking place now is merely off-setting depreciated older construction, he explained.
The board-approved budget calls for an increase in salaries and benefits of 2 percent for the 2017-18 school year.
Included is a $300 increase in the base salary and an increase of one step on the salary schedule for certified staff. That amounts to $277,552 more for salaries and benefits. The cost for certified staff (teachers, administrators) would be $203,991, for classified staff would be $61,761 and for extra duty pay (tied to the salary schedule) would be $11,800.
Osage did not add to the base for the 2016-17 school year.
The increase in base brings the salary for first-year teachers to $36,750, ahead of Camdenton but behind regional schools Jefferson City and Waynesville.
One of the goals of the district is to have healthy fund reserves for emergencies and unanticipated expenses. Depeé said the unwritten target is 35 percent fund reserves, but he feels "very comfortable" that Osage will have reserves of 40 percent in Funds 1-2, with $2 million in Fund 4 (capital improvements).
"This is healthy and it allows us to make decisions that come up," he said. "It gives us flexibility."
Included in the budget are facilities improvements at each of the schools. These include:
•New playground equipment and some rehab
•Parking lot exit, $30,000. The district is considering opening part of the parking lot for better traffic flow. An new exit from the parking lot directly onto School Road rather than back onto Henderson Road would help alleviate congestion before and after school. One option is that traffic would flow one way from Bagnell Dam Blvd. onto Henderson, through the parking lot, out School Road and onto Bagnell Dam Blvd. at the top of The Strip.
•Air quality scrubber -- $15,000
•Cafeteria tables -- $8,000
•Window replacements -- $50,000
•Playground drainage -- nominal
•HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) -- $14,000
•Computer room rehab -- $2,000
•Tuck pointing on west side of building -- $10,000
•Expanding the district's 1-to-1 digital device program to include third grade -- $29,000 (three years)
•Replacement van -- $35,000
•Two new buses -- $165,000
•Balance of field turf replacement ($150,000 cost) -- $45,000