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DPS budget reviewed by committee: Bottom line increased to almost $38.6 million

The Dickinson Public School Board will be reviewing a number of what Superintendent Doug Sullivan calls “big-ticket items” when it sets the 2014-2015 budget at its executive meeting August 11.

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The board’s budget committee, chaired by Leslie Ross, discussed at a meeting Wednesday the preliminary $38,589,310 budget, up from a requested $32,144,155 from the previous year.

“It is an increase,” Sullivan told The Press after the meeting. “But there are things in there designed to assist the district with appropriate infrastructure and school facilities.”

The board will have a chance to tweak items as needed at the next board meeting, but Sullivan told the committee that as of now, the budget is balanced “to the penny.”

One of the biggest projects in the upcoming year will be the expansion to Prairie Rose Elementary. The budget sets $1.4 million toward administrative offices and six new classrooms at the year-old school; the other $1.2 million will come from a capital projects fund.

Bids for the project opened July 23 and solicited five general engineering applicants, Sullivan said. Early estimates from architects and engineers put the total cost between $2.4 and $2.7 million, and bids came in at $2.6 million.

A $1.35 million placeholder is tentatively in the budget for land acquisition for a new middle school. The board has scheduled an October bond referendum vote to bring in the funds needed for the school, but “not wanting to be presumptive, we wanted to have it covered” in the budget, Sullivan said.

The board has not named a specific spot for the middle school and is still surveying possible properties to purchase, but Sullivan told Ross and other budget committee members that “when the time comes, we will move forward and make the appropriate purchase for that land.”

The board has been planning to replace Hagen Junior High School, which officials say the district has outgrown.

If passed later this year, the referendum will issue bonds to fund the planned $64 million school for grades 6-8.

The budget will go before the full board in August.

Faulx is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. To contact her call 701-456-1207. Tweet her at NadyaFaulx.