By Gail Peckler-Dziki~Correspondent

The Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School Board held the district’s annual meeting on Oct. 16. Business manager Michelle Brown explained how the district managed to overcome challenges created by drops in state aid and property values.

Administrator Dr. George Steffen explained that a change in state law that previously allowed for only a decrease of 10 percent of state aid per year was changed to allow that to move to 15 percent. Brown said that when the final numbers were in, the state aid was slightly more than originally anticipated.

State aid has dropped from $4,309,602 in 2011-2012 (unaudited) to $3,838,738 for the next school year of 2012-2012. That’s $470,864 less than last year. When state aid drops, local sources are needed to close the gap. Because property values have dropped, the mill rate or amount per thousand in value has risen.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean a homeowner will pay more in property tax,” she said.

The district reported total revenue and other financing sources as $6,717,891 with total expenditures and other financing uses at $7,035,300. These numbers show the district with a deficit budget, but the deficit is filled with $350,000 from the fund balance.

Schools and municipalities usually have an undesignated fund balance that is used for cash flow while waiting for tax and other payments.

Without this fund, governmental bodies use short-term borrowing to cover costs. This creates an additional interest expense.

Board president Tom Steiner explained. “The $350,000 came from state consolidation incentives. We promised our district residents that we would use some of the incentive money to offset the levy, which is what we have done.”

The mill rate was $9.11 in the fall of 2010, $7.46 in the fall of 2011 and is $9.05 this fall. In 2010, the equalized value of the district was $343,544,633; it was $333,769,8998 in 2011 and is $295,183,694 this year.

The levy for 2010-2011 was $3,128,668; it was $2,489,050 in 2011-2012 and is $2,699,274 this year.