The Finance and Business Services Department coordinates the daily, monthly, quarterly and annual business operations of the school district. Our functions include budgeting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchasing, student accounting, and insurance management.
The department also manages the annual budget, audit and levy process. Our staff works together on a day-to-day basis to process cash receipts and disbursements in a timely manner and manage the cash and other assets of the district.
News and Information
At its meeting on April 13, the South St. Paul School Board approved the 2020-21 proposed budget adjustments for addressing a projected $4.1 million budget shortfall. According to district officials, the gap is the result of declining enrollment, increasing costs and inequitable state funding.
Based on a recently released study of 33 metro area school districts, the class sizes in South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) continue to be among the lowest compared to neighboring districts and districts across the Twin Cities. The annual class size study is conducted by Metro ECSU, a regional educational cooperative focused on delivering services to districts while reducing costs through collaboration.
At a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, the South St. Paul School Board agreed to a budget adjustment target of approximately $1.17 million for the coming academic year. This discussion launches the district’s budget planning process for the 2020-21 school year. With fiscal parameters now established, administration will prepare recommendations for budget reductions, redesign and revenue generation (BRRRG) that will help address the district’s projected budget shortfall.
South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) homeowners will see a 5.83 percent increase on their 2019 Payable 2020 property tax levy, which is considerably less than the increase preliminarily approved by the board in September. While half of the increase is the due to a combination of annual cost increases and new payments for the purchase of the River Heights Professional Building, the other half of the levy increase is the result of rising property values in the community.
Standard & Poor’s (S & P) Financial Service recently affirmed its AA- underlying and A+ unenhanced rating to South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) for the district’s financing to secure the purchase and renovation of the River Heights Professional Building. The certificates of participation (COPs) will be included in the district’s lease levy, which supports facilities use and maintenance for educational purposes. The positive credit rating keeps South St. Paul Public Schools in the top third of all Minnesota school districts rated by S & P.
The district received a positive report on its annual financial audit, which was presented to and approved by the School Board at the Nov. 25 meeting. Auditors issued an “unmodified opinion” on the district’s financial statements for the 2018-19 school year, which means no corrections were needed and all accounting is in order. The audit also noted that the district had implemented adequate procedures to correct a minor finding in last year’s audit report.
South St. Paul selected as one of four school districts to receive financial award from Dakota Electric Association
Dakota Electric Association selected the school districts of Lakeville, Randolph, Red Wing and South St. Paul as this year’s recipients of donations from the unclaimed capital credits fund. Dakota Electric awarded a total of $46,000 of unclaimed capital credit money to the schools, which will be used to fund specific educational projects and reach district goals. South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) received $6,000 from Dakota Electric that it will use at Kaposia, Lincoln Center and SSP Secondary for advancements of the district’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program.
Overall district enrollment continues to exceed resident student population, administration focuses on resident families choosing other options
According to a report shared with the South St. Paul School Board on Oct. 28, enrollment trends over the last ten years show that while the district has served more students than reside in SSPPS, the number of school-age students living in SSPPS has declined over the last two years. In addition, the number of students open enrolling into SSPPS has remained constant, but the number of resident students choosing other educational options has increased.
As residents receive property tax statements, school district continues work to ease burden on homeowners
SSPPS homeowners will see a 5.83 percent increase on their 2019 Payable 2020 property tax levy, which is less than the 8.3 increase preliminarily approved by the board in September. Bushberger said that the district is still looking at a few additional options with the hope of lowering the 5.83 increase even more. “This year, South St. Paul saw an increase in property values of over 12 percent, which is good for homeowners,” he said. “But that increase in property values means the state provides less in aid and instead shifts more onto the taxpayer. The amount of revenue coming into the district does not change, but how the revenue gets divided between local taxes and state aid does.”
This year, students at Kaposia Education Center will have even more resources to help them stay healthy and active. Last week Kaposia learned that it had been awarded $4,000 to support healthy eating and physical activity initiatives as a part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which encourages students to eat healthy, be active and implement positive changes in their schools and communities. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council, Midwest Dairy and the NFL in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Board approves preliminary tax levy at maximum while working to reduce overall increase and ease burden on property owners
At its meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, the South St. Paul School Board approved the preliminary tax levy for 2019 payable 2020. In keeping with past practice, the Board approved the maximum of the proposed levy with the intent of continuing to review levy categories for possible adjustments. District officials said that they are working with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to reduce the overall increase and ease the burden on property owners.
District’s purchase of River Heights Professional Building to provide better learning environment for Community Learning Center and adult programs
Since 1997, the Community Learning Center (CLC) has been housed inside Woog Arena. Prior to that, the CLC, which was established in 1990, has been housed in various non-school locations in the South St. Paul (SSP) community. Throughout its nearly 30 year history, the CLC has operated in facilities leased by the district, as there has not been available and appropriate district-owned space for the school. But starting in Fall 2020, the CLC and other district adult learning programs will have a new place to call home thanks to a recently approved purchase agreement for the River Heights Professional Building at 710 19th Avenue North.
Assistant Business Manager
Business Services Administrative Assistant/