While this year's Farmington Public Schools budget got a $3 million shot in the arm this year, officials will likely face another double digit structural deficit in 2013-2014.
Associate Superintendent of Operational Services David Ruhland told board members Tuesday that amended budget numbers reflect the district's position as of Dec. 1, 2012. Changes result from adjustments made to the district's student count, federal funds, state funds and retirement costs.
Ruhland said the loss of 27 more students than anticipated cost the district $171,000, but lower than anticipated retirement costs, grant spending, the impact of employee cost-sharing for benefits and other factors resulted in more than $3 million less in expenditures.
This year's $11 million structural deficit drops to $8 million, which will boost the fund balance by four percentage points, to 10.9 percent of expenditures, which is within the district's policy target of 8 to 12 percent.
"We have to start chopping away at that," Ruhland said of the deficit. While it isn't the district's job to "sock money away", he said, a cushion is needed to avoid borrowing to meet day-to-day expenses.
A projected $11 million deficit for the 2013-2014 year would reduce that cushion to just 2 percent. Ruhland said the early projection anticipates a loss of 66 students and reduction of about $3 million in revenues that includes one-time state and federal funds.
Ruhland said the numbers assume "flat-lined" spending and a smaller increase in health costs, based on employees contributing more and making better health care choices. He stressed that it is very difficult to accurately forecast numbers at this stage.
Officials are required to adopt a budget by June 30.