This article will explain the barriers districts have in spending funds. Depending on each district’s economic and demographic situation, some face pressures from the staff side of the budget while others have more pressure on facilities. However, due to restrictions on revenue uses, excess money from the general fund cannot be used to solve shortages on the facilities side and vice versa. As a result, you sometimes end up with districts that have adequate funds but need to lay off staff.

Instructional expenditures (general fund) are equalized, but the funds we levy locally are not. The physical plant and equipment levy and debt service are very valuation dependent and the revenue received varies considerably among districts. However the statewide school infrastructures sales and service tax (better known as the state penny sales tax), provides “equal” funding for school infrastructure needs and/or district property tax relief. The tax capacity of the district and the one penny revenue largely limits the amount of funds for building expenditures.

When it comes to school spending, districts must look at all potential expenditures and determine not only if they have the money, but whether state law allows a particular fund to cover the expense. This standard, often referred to as “Dillon’s Rule,” says school districts are only allowed to do what is specifically outlined by state law. This differs from cities and counties, which operate under “Home Rule,” which allows them to do anything not specifically prohibited by state law. Schools have less latitude than cities and counties in complying with the Code of Iowa, and in turn, how they spend their money.

The next article will cover budget limit for schools, while other property tax entities are rate limited.

As the holiday season is upon us, and we wind down the first semester, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parents of our students for your on-going encouragement and support of your children and schools. All of our staff members are truly the benefactors of and certainly appreciate your efforts. As you know, once this well deserved break is over it is the start to the second semester---wow has time flown by.

We have a lot to be thankful for here at IKM-Manning CSD. We have outstanding students, outstanding staff members, outstanding educational programs; all made possible by an outstanding Board of Education. We as a district will be facing some challenging times but due to the diligence and leadership of our board members, they have provided us with the leadership and resources needed to maintain IKM-Manning CSD as a leader in public education. Shortly after the return from the winter break the process to prepare for the 2012-13 school year will get underway, with work on the school calendar and the 2013 school budget.

Over the past two weeks we have been blessed with some excellent musical performances by students Pre-K thru 12. I would like to thank Don Struve, Mandy Bahr, Elizabeth Book, and Marisa Merkel for providing the patrons and parents with some great performances. Great job!

In closing, I would again like to thank each and every one of you for your support, and wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and a GREAT start to 2012.

Yours in education- Dr. Tom Ward, Superintendent

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