Maintenance III: We Can’t Demand More Maintenance Work While Budgeting for Less

As a budget-reducing measure for the 2009-2010 school year, the Board voted not to spend about $3 million of the $5 million in spending authority that was approved in the 2005 maintenance referendum.  That money is not coming back.  The 2005  maintenance referendum has now expired. 

Over the last couple of years (and perhaps longer, I don’t know) the district has budgeted about $4 million in maintenance spending each year out of the overall operating budget, apart from  the maintenance referendum funds.  This resulted in about $9 million available for maintenance each year.  (We are told that a recommended benchmark for maintenance funding is 2% of replacement cost.  For MMSD, this works out to about $15.5 million per year.)

We no longer have the $5 million in spending authority from the maintenance referendum and so we do not include that in the budget for 2010-2011.  Our initial same-service budget tabbed about $4.4 million in maintenance spending for 2010-2011.  One of the proposed Tier 2 cuts in next year’s budget was a reduction of about $436,000 from the maintenance budget.   The Board ended up approving a reduction of $332,496. 

This leaves us with a maintenance budget of about $4.1 million for next year, less than half of what it has been for the past several years.  Another way to look at it is that our entire maintenance budget for this year is only about $1 million more than the amount of referendum-approved spending authority that we decided last fall we didn’t need. 

Regardless of any new enthusiasm for tuck-pointing that the Cap Times article generates, I’m guessing that our 2010-2011 maintenance budget isn’t going to be enough to cover any large tuck-pointing projects, or anything much beyond emergency projects.

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