The Fayette County school board took a deep dive Monday into the tentative 2015-16 budget, with district staff providing more details than in years past:
Among them were:
■ The district spends $128,000 a year to replace bulbs in classroom projectors.
■ It costs a total of $22,000 to rent Rupp Arena for high school graduation ceremonies, and $38,500 for diplomas, programs and other related expenses.
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■ The district spends $45,000 on law enforcement overtime for athletic events and $250,000 for medical trainers.
The board did not make any decisions Monday, but Kyna Koch, senior director of administrative services, asked members to consider having several goals for a budget that she described to the Herald-Leader as "very tight but not alarming."
The goals, she said, could include reducing transportation costs, containing special education costs given the current $41 million expense, combining or reducing the number of administrative assistants at Central Office, and agreeing to no new programs for 2015-16.
Koch discussed major and minor expenses. She suggested the district could renegotiate the $290 fee per student per semester that surrounding school districts pay to send their students to Fayette County technical schools, noting that the district spends more than that on those students.
She said board members could review and reduce the use of Northeast Christian Church for meetings. She said board members could review programming at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, where some students have behavior problems.
Koch said one goal could be to reduce employee benefits, including personal and sick days, but she said there currently was "no serious consideration" of that.
She said much of the information provided to the board Monday was preliminary.
For 2014-15, the school board approved $17.1 million in controversial budget cuts.
"We don't need to start looking at deep cuts" for 2015-16, Koch said. "We need to be aware of how we are spending our money and conscious of the decisions we are making about new expenses."
Noted board chairman John Price, "We're certainly in a much better situation than we were last year."
Koch and Price said district officials had no choice about some expenses. About $9.7 million is needed for state mandated-raises and increased retirement costs, and utilities will cost $11.3 million, according to board documents.
The board is set to approve a tentative budget this month. The final general fund budget, which will be approved in September, is expected to be in excess of $400 million..
The district spends 72 percent of its budget on individual schools and academic programs and 7.7 percent on districtwide programs that help schools, said Koch.