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Columbia school officials begin planning for 2018-2019 budget

The Columbia Public Schools Finance Committee met for its monthly meeting Wednesday to give an update on the district’s current budget as they begin to plan for the following school year.

School Board President Darin Preis said right now the district is on target for this school year’s budget of $308.9 million in revenue while spending about $307.3 million.

“The board budgeted conservatively last year, so it gave us a little bit of a buffer,” Preis said.

He said school officials will have to pay attention to fund balances for the 2018-2019 budget as the district prepares to build a new middle school in southwest Columbia.

“So we want to make sure we have enough money in place for when we open our new middle school in a couple years, that we have the operating expense, that we have the revenue to cover those expenses, because those are new,” he said.

At its last meeting, the school board approved the ballot language for a $30 million dollar bond issue for the upcoming April election. Preis said the money would go toward building the new middle school on Sinclair Road that is scheduled to open in 2020.

Preis said the bond money would not be considered into the 2018-2019 school year budget until approved by voters.

The finance committee also discussed state funding projections. Right now, CPS would receive more than $55,000,000 from the state.

The Board of Education will begin the budget planning process at its meeting Monday. Preis said members will set broad guidelines for the budget, which will include a 18 to 20 percent reserve fund balance.

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