A Message From Dr. Bell  

June 12, 2015
ESU 10 Administrative Assistant, Valerie Gwin, and I just finished finalizing the budget to operate this business for at least another year pending board approval on June 15th.  It looks like we will manage to keep the doors open and meet the required needs of the school districts we serve as we “partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support”. Now comes the fun part as we transition from one fiscal year to the next. The ESU 10 fiscal year begins July 1.    

I have decided to dedicate this column to ESU 10 funding since I don’t think most people understand how we get funds to operate. The total yearly ESU 10 budget of expenditures has been running about $13.5 million. There are four budget revenue categories that supply funding to pay those expenditures:  Basic Services, Core Services, Special Services, and Grants.  

Basic Services encompass the greatest variety of ESU 10 programs and use about $4 million each year. 75% of those funds come from property taxes where the ESU can collect up to $.015 per $100 of valuation. Last year ESU 10 had a valuation of $18,887,937,758. The rest of the funds come from direct sale of services, flow-through funds from various sources, and reserve funds if they are needed. The tax levy has always been at the $.015 rate until last year when valuations increased at a rapid rate and our levy dropped a bit to $.0147. We are restricted as how much tax we can request.      

Special Services is the next largest category and costs about $3.6 million this upcoming year. All of the funding for this category comes from the users of the program. School districts contract with ESU 10 each year so they know exactly what yearly costs can be so that they can budget appropriately.

Grants provide the ESU with about $3.2 million of annual income. That figure is about half of what was five years ago.  The present level is stable and we do not anticipate much future change in state and federal grant support. We do look for other grant sources constantly.

Core Services is the most recent category and state funded by the ESU Core Services and Technology Infrastructure Certification. In other words, it is state aid. This fund has fluctuated since it was initiated in 1998. The latest revision in 2007 was beneficial for ESU 10. We have been averaging about $1.5 million in payments each year from the state since 2007 to support a $2.7 million effort, but our funding took a big hit this year and we lost almost $250,000. Any lost funding this year is then shouldered through local property taxes just to maintain current programs. 57% of this budget is funded by flow-through funds. This is also the area where we budget to support NDE programs such as AQuESTT. My latest rough calculation would indicate that the state now funds only 37% of this state mandated program. The juxtaposition of the state needing and requesting more ESU support and at the same time reducing state financial support causes an increased burden on local property taxpayers. This type of thinking is not congruent and should probably be addressed soon in a legislative session.

I hope this information helps provide some clarity as to how ESU 10 operates. Feel free to contact me at any time if you have any budget questions. This organization still delivers on the original charge of providing economy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. We appreciate your continued support.