The $3 million budget surplus

Chloe Myers, Staff Reporter

Students and parents alike have been questioning the amount of money the school spends or has “left over” for years. Stevenson spends $117,500,000 and receives $120,595,000. This means that there is a projected budget surplus of three million dollars in the school year of 2016-2017. The money the school receives comes from the state, property taxes and registration fees given to the school.

Stevenson spends its surplus money in many different ways, and the public has many different opinions that can conflict with the plans of administration.

The school should spend the budget on “service projects that Stevenson’s clubs sponsor to help other people who aren’t as privileged,” Heather Jeon ’19 said. “There are always more we could contribute to the community.”

Other students have numerous other ideas about how to spend the money. Some think that they should put in new swim lockers, such as Sofie Won ‘19. While some believe they should have tutoring with longer hours like Vrushali Thakkar ‘20. Everyday students think of new ideas for ways the school can utilize their funds.

What the three million dollars will actually be spent on is very different than the proposals those students put forth. It will instead act as a safety blanket for the school, Melissa Mickey, director of business services, said.

“We put it towards our fund balance so we continue to make sure that we have enough money in the reserves in case something were to happen, and the board requires us to keep 35 percent of what our total expenditures are,” Mickey said.

The budget surplus is also not completely finalized. Many things can happen to make the budget surplus become smaller.

“What we have to take into account is we may not get all the money we are supposed to because sometimes the state doesn’t make all their payments and taxes might not all come in,” Mickey said.

The budget surplus also affects adults who live in the area, such as Stevenson parent and district homeowner, Cristina Lopez. Lopez believes that the budget should be reinvested into the school, minimize the surplus and lower the taxes. She also thinks that a surplus of three million dollars is too much.

“I believe that three million is more than they need in a surplus, way more than they need,” Lopez said. “Maybe somewhere between half a million to a million, but no more than that.”

The amount of money the school has to use is $120,595,000. They spend a majority of it but what is left has people confused. Cristina Lopez said she was realized the school had a surplus, but that she had no idea how big the surplus actually was.

The reason that the surplus is so big is not only because Stevenson receives more than it spends, but also because construction costs can fluctuate or deflate depending on what the school plans to do that year.

“We like to keep our fund balance at a much higher level so that we can operate as normal and do what is best for students,” Mickey said.