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FWCS budget would lead to tax increase

September 25, 2018

The 2019 Fort Wayne Community Schools budget calls for a property tax increase, but not by much.

The anticipated 3 percent tax rate increase means the owner of a 8 more than last year, the district announced Monday.

Residents wishing to weigh in on the proposed $305.9 million spending plan may attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St., Fort Wayne.

Budget adoption is expected Oct. 22.

Kathy Friend, the district’s chief financial officer, presented the budget in its new format to the school board Monday night.

State law recently changed, reducing the number of funds within school district budgets from six to two.

“This new funding structure provides school districts more flexibility in budgeting,” Friend said. “However, FWCS will still maintain a commitment to following a disciplined approach to funding all the areas of operations as we have in the past. This budget establishes the baseline for how we will continue to budget in the future.”

The proposed budget is up 4 percent from 2018, with nearly 75 percent of spending : about $203.7 million : earmarked for the education fund.

That category supports teachers, teacher aides, media services, instructional technology and services supporting academic achievement in schools, such as school administration, social work, health and guidance.

Non-instructional operating costs, along with expenses unrelated to day-to-day operations, comprise the operations fund. This includes district administration, facilities maintenance, security, transportation and construction.

Local property taxes support the operations fund, Friend said. She noted FWCS expects to collect about $43.5 million from taxpayers.

State tuition support is the other primary revenue source. It is directed to the education fund, but a portion will be transferred to the operations fund, Friend said. 

For FWCS, Friend said, the state funding has only increased by $67 per pupil : or 1 percent : since 2013-14.

“That is not good,” she said.

For more information about the budget, visit www.gateway.ifionline.org.

asloboda@jg.net

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