Funds decrease despite student growth for Yukon

Despite gaining more than 300 students in its weighted student population, the Yukon School District will lose more than $700,000 in state funding this year.

Yukon schools’ Chief Financial Officer Jim Fenrick said the loss of funds was the result of a combination of an increased enrollment along with improving local receipts.

In all, the Yukon district would have received $48,664,654 in state aid based on the student population before local funding sources, known as chargeables, are applied.

That local support reduced the state aid numbers by a little more than $22 million.

It’s called an equalization formula, Fenrick said.

The equalization formula was put into place to make sure all public schools receive approximately the same amount of money per student.

Dr. Jason Simeroth

Yukon has a weighted average daily attendance of 14,164 students, according to the state Department of Education. That is an increase of 319 students over what was initially reported at the end of the first nine weeks.

In actuality, Yukon has 8,865 students. The increase in weighted daily attendance equals about 102 students.

The amount that Yukon receives per student is $3,435, which also is an increase of $13.72.

Fenrick said that while those increases are terrific, Yukon also saw increases in local funding sources.

Those items, which include things like ad valorem taxes, the county’s 4-mill assessment, earnings from school land sales and rentals, as well as gross production taxes, motor vehicle fees and an REA tax, are charged against the amount of state aid the district receives.

Fenrick said in most cases, with the exception of ad valorem and the 4-mill levy, state aid is reduced dollar-for-dollar.

Yukon saw a $50 million increase in its ad valorem valuation thanks in part to the construction of new turbines at Oklahoma Gas and Electric’s Mustang Power Plant.

That valuation increase netted the district an additional $1.8 million, Fenrick said.

In addition, Yukon also saw gains in virtually every category.

The school land earnings jumped by $105,257; the gross production taxes jumped by $181,576 and motor vehicle fees increased by $6,817.

In all, Yukon had more than $23,999,236 in chargeable accounts.

Fenrick said Yukon isn’t alone.

The average school district across the state lost $30 per student at mid-term because of chargeable income.

Yukon lost about $100 per student.

“At Yukon, it gets a little worse than that because we had such a great year in our chargeables. Our valuation went up $50 million, which converted to another $1.8 million in local taxes being collected. All of those things combined, we have income of $22.5 million that is charged against that $48 million,” he said.

As a result, once the numbers are added together, Yukon took a loss in state aid of $801,000.

“It’s kind of crazy, but it cost us to grow,” he said.

But it isn’t all bad.

The local funding increased $1.4 million more than what was affected by the equalization formula.

The end results, he said, was that Yukon lost just $32,197 from its budget.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said situations such as this, along with a recent ruling that Yukon will have to repay more than $600,000 in motor vehicle funds, is why Yukon tries to maintain a significant carry-over balance.

“We are able to shoulder this loss without any real dire circumstances,” Simeroth said.

He said school officials will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“We will have to be mindful, just like we always are to make sure we are OK going forward,” Simeroth said. “We’re fine. We are.”

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