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FWCS budget proposal includes tax increase

Public comment period set for Oct. 8

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 10:51 am

Fort Wayne Community Schools on Monday began its budget process for 2013, with Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend delivering to the board a crisp, detailed presentation of the district's fiscal planning.

The board will be asked to approve a budget totaling more than $288 million, though Friend emphasized the district will likely spend close to $279 million. The latter figure is more than $13.6 million more than the district's budget in 2012 and will result in a higher tax levy that will generate nearly $6.8 million, according to the district.

Friend explained that the funding formula for the general fund, which is projected to be about $208 million of the 2013 budget, is due to expire in midyear 2013. The district could have to make adjustments, depending on the next set of standards adopted by the state legislature. Friend detailed that the general fund's $208 million is made up of nearly $139 million in salary and wages, roughly $47 million in fringe benefits, around $15 million in purchasing services and the rest in miscellaneous expenses.

The rest of the budget has funding for capital projects, racial balance, transportation operations and bus replacement, debt service and a pension bond, and a line item for the Museum of Art.

Public hearings about the budget, the capital projects fund and the bus replacement fund will be held Oct. 8, while the board is scheduled to potentially approve the budget Oct. 22.

Board extends bonus payment deadline

The board agreed to extend by 60 days the time period to establish Superintendent Wendy Robinson's potential bonus payment, citing a delay in receiving required data from the state Department of Education.

According to the district, Robinson's compensation package is to be decided within 90 days from the end of the previous school year; that date would be Friday. The extension moves the deadline to Nov. 27. Nearly one year ago, Robinson was awarded a $15,000 bonus and had her salary increased by $5,500 – from $174,500 to $180,000 – while also receiving an annuity of $20,000.

Also: The district announced the hirings of two administrators, with Thomas Harris being named director of human resources and Beth Ann Gibson being named capital projects coordinator.

Harris, also a member of Allen County Council, replaces David Richards. He starts Oct. 1.

Gibson's duties will include oversight of the $119 million building project, approved by referendum earlier this year.