Sidney School District budget focuses on academic needs

SIDNEY -- The Sidney Public Schools board of education faced an uncomfortable position in its September 11 meeting. 

Despite a need to find funding to assist in district academic needs, SPS is maintaining its mill levy at 1.21. The mill levy will remain the same as the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

"We did everything we could to stay away from those cards (property tax notifications)," said board president  Mike Palmer. "It's pretty lean, quite frankly."

Superintendent Andrew Farber said the shortage from the State is about the same amount the District needs to maintain funding for key academic needs, and keep its promise of a 3 percent salary increase for staff. A summary presented in the meeting packet shows a loss of State aid at $257,735, the 3 percent increase in staff salaries at $389,036, increased salaries and costs related to special education $149,450 and the need to maintain staff during a teacher shortage. 

The Sidney School District proposes 1.05 mills for the General Fund, 0.135212 for the Bond, 0.030995 for the Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund (QCPUF) fund. As a result, the District will maintain a mill levy of 1.216207.  

The budget summary provided by the District shows actual disbursements have increased from $19,027,426 in 2021-2022 to $21,063,210 this year and a proposed $27,392,971 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

The school board held public hearings Monday on the budget and the mill levy prior to the September 11 regular meeting. No members of the public were in attendance.

The budget hearing will be held 6 p.m. September 18 at the Sidney High School auditorium.