Financial concerns were the topic of the meeting Tuesday evening, as the board decided to lower its expectations for its general fund balance at the end of the 2012 fiscal year.
The general fund is essentially the account the school district uses to fund all the schools. Traditionally, the school district wants to have about 4 percent of its monies left over at the end of the year, according to Michael Schwartz, business manager for Richfield Public Schools. Schwartz called this a "rainy day" fund.
"In a perfect utopian world you'd want to spend all that money on the kids," he said. "But sometime boilers break [or] other accidents happen which you hadn't budgeted for."
The school board approved decreasing the normal 4 percent to 2.5 percent after considering going to both 2 and 3 percent as well. The reduction will leave the district with $1,145,562 at the close of the fiscal year on June 30, 2012.
Both Superintendent Bob Slotterback and Schwartz both cited the board's budgets concerns stemmed from uncertainty about the economy as well as potential changes by the state legislature to freeze public schools workers' salaries through summer 2013.
Slotterback said the board needed to be conservative in their budget estimates in order to avoid cash flow issues or shortfalls. Board members also want to ensure the progress in improving the schools isn't derailed as a result of a tight budget.
“It’s hard to say you have to cut or restrict the budget, especially when you have the momentum,” he said. “We want to keep moving forward."
The next school board meeting will be held on Feb.7 at 7 p.m. at the Richfield District Offices at . A special study session regarding referendums will take place at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.