Charter school approves 14-15 budget with sizable surplus
Marshall Helmberger

REGIONAL—The Vermilion Country Charter School Board has approved a 2014-15 budget with a nearly $65,000 end-of-the-year surplus at its regular meeting on June 25. The new budget marks a significant improvement from the break-even budget the school experienced in its first year of operation.

At the same time, the school projects significant additional staffing, including a Title I instructor, an Indian Home School Liaison, and two additional general education paraprofessionals. In addition, the school board recently approved the hiring of Kevin Fitton, as school administrator. Fitton, who moved to Tower from St. Paul earlier this month, will replace Jennifer Mounsdon, who has served as interim administrator since February.

Board Chair Jodi Summit said a number of factors have helped improve the school’s financial outlook, including additional operational revenues. The school, which serves a substantial American Indian population, qualifies for federal impact aid, which was not available to the school in its first year of operation. The school’s budget includes $50,000 in impact aid, although Summit said it’s likely to be closer to $60,000. The actual amount won’t be known for certain until Congress approves the allocation for fiscal year 2015 later this year.

The school will also see additional revenue from the increase in the general aid formula, as well as from the excess operating levy approved by the St. Louis County School Board, which takes effect this coming school year. Under state law, charter schools receive the state equalization portion of local operating referenda, so the approval of ISD 2142’s levy last year will bring in several thousand dollars in extra funding. In addition, the school will qualify for Title I dollars, which it didn’t apply for last year with all of the other priorities related to opening.

The new budget is based on anticipated enrollment of 62 students this fall.

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