BCHS gears up for tight budget year

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Beaverhead County High School’s total school budgets increased roughly $70,000 from the prior fiscal year, but it’s slight enrollment decline has tightened general operating funds.

The school board unanimously approved the 2022 budget at its Aug. 9 meeting.

“The total mills this year is 5.01 mills less than last year,” Haverfield told the school board. “We feel pretty good about that, considering we are in a budget crisis. That’s not an understatement – we’ll make it work. Hopefully enrollment will go up so it will help us next year.”

The district’s general fund budget increased roughly $6,000 from the prior year, which is not enough to cover faculty and staff raises. The general fund budget is predicted to be $3,036,855.29 for the 2021-22 school year.

“We don’t like the general fund budget,” Haverfield added. “We’d like to have more for operations, but that’s what we get. We’ll survive it.”

Other district budgets in the overall total – such as transportation, bus depreciation, retirement and building reserve – increased. Business Manager Ramona Glaus said the retirement budget went up because salaries went up, which drives increased benefits costs. Transportation increased because operating costs (such as fuel, parts and personnel) increased. Bus depreciation has increased due to the purchase of newer buses and the ongoing replacement of older ones.

The technology budget decreased approximately $57,000, and the adult education budget stayed the same. The total for all school district budgets is $6,639,207.52 for the 2021-22 school year.

“We are working on a very tight budget and are doing our best to make it work, along with trying to keep the mills down for taxpayers,” Glaus added.