Fundraising wasn't much in Todd Selk's job description before the Brainerd School Board began slashing funds from the Brainerd High School athletic department as part of the district's budget cuts during the past couple of years.
But Selk, BHS activities director, has found ways - from selling premium Warrior football seating to cookie dough - in order to bring new revenue into his activities programs.
It's the new Warrior Way.
Selk gave a fundraiser update Thursday before the school board finance committee. Last year the athletic department had to make $250,000 in budget reductions for the 2006-07 school year. The department proposed $110,000 in reductions, including the elimination of many assistant coaches, and $140,000 in new revenue through fee increases and fundraisers, which the board approved last May.
While the goal was to raise $140,000, the department has exceeded its goal and raised $162,618, Selk said. This included $43,000 in fee increases, $42,000 during the ticket package spring fundraiser, $37,300 in the gold card fall fundraiser, $29,400 in cookie dough sales, $1,500 in Warrior football reserve seats and $9,800 in corporate advertising.
"You can see by our numbers our community has spoken and said, 'We will support you,'" said Selk.
Board members commended Selk and his staff, along with students, for their efforts. Superintendent Jerry Walseth said he has heard from community members concerned about the emphasis on student fundraising but yet they've also understood that athletic programs would need to be reduced or eliminated without the fundraising.
In committee action, the committee recommended the school board adopt its 2006-07 budget revisions, which included the negotiated non-certified contracts. The June 30 unreserved fund balance is estimated to be $1.475 million, or 2.2 percent of total general fund expenditures. This is a decrease from an earlier estimate of about $1.9 million, or 2.87 percent. If the district does not receive a state funding increase or approval of a potential operating levy referendum, its projected 2008-09 unreserved fund balance would be a deficit of 2.6 percent and the district would be in statutory operating debt, said Steve Dickinson, director of business services. In 2004-05 the district had an 11 percent unreserved fund balance.
Dickinson said the district, which has a $65 million annual budget, requires $5 million a month to maintain a positive cash flow without borrowing funds.
Dickinson said if the district receives from this year's Legislature 2 percent increases during the next two years, the district's unreserved fund balance would still be a deficit of 1.44 percent, or $1 million, in 2007-08 and a deficit of 7.74 percent, or $3.3 million, in 2008-9.
Dickinson said it would take an 8 percent increase each year for two years from the state in order to turn around the district's budgetary woes without an operating levy referendum or additional budget cuts.
The committee approved a revised joint powers agreement for social and recreational services and a revised assessment agreement with the city of Baxter.
The committee discussed an opportunity to reduce its natural gas costs by entering into an agreement for gas supply management services with U.S. Energy. More than 25 Minnesota school districts are using its services, which could reduce the district's monthly energy costs by about 7-10 percent, said Earl Wolleat, director of buildings and grounds. The committee agreed to have school attorney Tom Fitzpatrick look over the services agreement and then the issue will be sent back to the committee for approval.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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