Why does the SF School District have so much in reserve funds?

As I was reading this article about teacher raises (which I fully support) something else in the article concerned me;

The school district can afford the pay hike because it has spent less than it planned to for years and has an oversized reserve fund. Their 2013-14 budget alone looks to spend $6.6 million of their $22 million in general fund reserves.

$22 Million in Reserve Funds! As our property taxes continue to increase why does the school district have so much in reserves, when . . .

1) They haven’t discussed substitute teacher pay increases.

2) The city continues to give out property tax breaks in the form of TIF’s to private developers.

3) There has never been a discussion about building a public indoor pool at one of the High Schools.

It seems the school district is swimming in money, so why do my taxes continue to go up?



7 comments ↓

#1 Craig on 04.18.13 at 10:44 am

What is the total school budget per year in comparison to the reserve portion? I’d focus more on the percentage than I would on the actual value. $22M is a huge amount of money to most of us, but when you look at it from the perspective of the school district, it probably isn’t all that significant.

If they are spending almost a third of their reserves in a single school year budget, I think it is hard to claim the reserve is too large. Seems to me if they kept up that pace they would run out of money fairly quick.

Then what?

#2 Scott on 04.18.13 at 10:56 am

Homan needs to stash her retirement funds somewhere!

#3 anonymous on 04.18.13 at 2:32 pm

Why are we in our second opt-out…….!!?!

#4 Titleist on 04.18.13 at 7:37 pm

Isn’t that about the same cost of the new proposed indoor public pool?

#5 Concerned Citizen on 04.19.13 at 9:43 am

I have begun to pay more attention to school board meetings since this year’s candidates for school board began to come forward.

I believe, as I watched the April 8 school board meeting, Doug Morrison said that pay for substitute teachers was going up 11%.

The school district does not control who gets a TIF and who doesn’t.

As far as I know, swimming is not part of the curriculum or a recognized sport for the Sioux Falls school district, so why would the school district put in a pool at one high school and not the other two; how would that be equal education at all high schools? Putting an indoor pool in a high school would be extremely costly to maintain. I would not want to raise school taxes to maintain a swimming pool.

I don’t know how big the reserve is, but I did notice at the April 8th board meeting that the March payroll was over $10M and the bills were over $10M too.

#6 Testor15 on 04.19.13 at 3:12 pm

It is getting to the end of budget year so funds will be spent heavy and quick now.

#7 pathloss on 04.22.13 at 1:23 pm

Homan needs a new horse barn.