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IHC reveals budget for the first time in its history

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In an effort to make the Immaculate Heart Central school system more transparent, Executive System Administrator Christopher E. Hornbarger on Monday revealed the school’s budget to the public for the first time in IHC’s history.

A $3.51 million budget was approved by IHC’s Education Council in July. That is an increase of $390,000, or 12.5 percent, from last year’s $3.12 million budget.

“We enjoyed some success last year, and the success helps us run some key goals,” Mr. Hornbarger said.

The school system receives less than half of its revenue from tuition and is expecting a small elementary enrollment increase.

“This year’s elementary enrollment target is 265 versus 260 last year,” he said in an email message. “It appears we’re on track to meet that target, though many things can happen in the final weeks.”

Elementary tuition for a family with one student in the system is $2,800 per year if a member of a Catholic parish. For those who are not part of a parish, the tuition increases to $3,950.

Mr. Hornbarger said there are scholarships for those who want to attend but cannot afford it.

Tuition fees can be found at http://www.ihcschools.org/JuniorSenior.cfm?subpage=589191.

Mr. Hornbarger said it is difficult to know what the high school enrollment will be because parents whose children have enrolled in the past often wait until right before school starts to re-enroll.

However, he is expecting a hit in enrollment throughout the school system some time this year.

“As we discussed, our biggest challenge to meeting our enrollment targets this year is the large number of Fort Drum families being reassigned this summer after many years of a very high operational tempo,” he said in an email message. “Over the course of the next six to eight months, the Army will backfill those positions, but it always takes time.”

An aggressive fund-raising campaign to rack up $220,000 may make up for it.

Last year, the district collected about $93,000 through donations.

“Those are aggressive targets,” he said. “We don’t anticipate that. To anticipate that would be a bit of hubris.”

With extra money in the budget, teachers will be paid at the rate of inflation, iPads will be introduced in the classroom for students and teachers, Google Applications for Education will be used and new courses will be added to the high school.

Kindergarten classes will be “reduced significantly,” according to Mr. Hornbarger, while some new teachers will be hired and teacher development will be increased.

Less than 1 percent of the budget comes from state aid to be used for mandated services.

“We’re pretty excited about the education initiatives we’re trying to pursue,” Mr. Hornbarger said. “We’re excited about a re-energized alumni relationship, and we’re excited about the opportunity to partner with the community at large.”

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