Teachers have been cut and positions have been left unfilled, but the Independence School District will have a balanced budget next year.

Teachers have been cut and positions have been left unfilled, but the Independence School District will have a balanced budget next year.

The Independence Board of Education approved the preliminary 2010-11 budget Tuesday. Revenues are estimated at $165.64 million, and expenditures are estimated at $194.34 million. Although more money is being spent next year, this reflects funds from the $85 million bond issue approved by voters in November. Of the $194 million, $28.68 million is in bond funds and will be used toward construction and renovation projects districtwide.

“We believe we have budgeted using the worst-case scenario in regards to state funding,” Superintendent Jim Hinson said. “Hopefully we are correct in our budgeting. We will find out as we see what takes place in the next few months.”

The budget includes a 10 percent reduction in supplies as well as the combining of student activity trips at both the middle and high school level. In addition, 13 teaching positions were not renewed because of financial reasons. In total, almost 150 teaching and support staff positions were not filled for the coming school year.

Teachers will be allowed to move across on the salary schedule if they have accumulated additional college credit hours.

However, there will be no increase to the base salary, leaving it at $34,700.

The budget also reflects $1.1 million in cuts to transportation as well as the foundation formula, the state’s main funding mechanism for public schools, not being fully funded.

“We tried to be as exact on our expenditures as possible,” Hinson said. “Revenues are really floating. Sometimes that is OK, other times it is really bad. We have taken a big hit in the foundation formula and state sales tax. Hopefully, those revenues will stabilize. What we would like to see is the numbers go in the other direction (toward the positive) for a change.”

Board Member Matt Mallinson said the biggest challenge is creating a budget with so many unknowns.

“We have a very difficult job of determining how much we can spend when we really don’t know how much we will be getting in,” he said. “What Dr. Hinson said is true, this is a guide. It is very fluid. I want to compliment the time and effort put in this because I know, it was a very difficult job.”