Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal public school district, is not a gambler, especially when it comes to estimating revenues at budget time. That is why on Wednesday night, when it came time to roll out a preliminary budget for 2015-16, Johnson presented a fiscal plan that does not count on money that is not guaranteed.

Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal public school district, is not a gambler, especially when it comes to estimating revenues at budget time. That is why on Wednesday night, when it came time to roll out a preliminary budget for 2015-16, Johnson presented a fiscal plan that does not count on money that is not guaranteed.

“The Hannibal school district needs to remain conservative in spending…,” Johnson urged the Board. “A lot of things could have a negative impact on the budget.”

The proposed budget, built on anticipated revenues of $34.6 million, is balanced. Johnson added that drafting the budget was a challenge because there are a “lot of unknowns.”

State funding, which will provide 41 percent of the district’s funding in the upcoming year, is in a period of plenty. After releasing in September 2014 $100.2 million of foundation formula funding that had previously been restricted, Gov. Jay Nixon released another $86 million in May of this year.

Johnson reported that state revenues continue to improve. It’s a trend that is projected to continue through the budget year, added the superintendent.

Despite the state’s economic upturn, Johnson remains wary what legislative action might have on monies received through the foundation formula. House Bill 1689, which passed during the most recent legislative session, changes state statutes that will require future foundation formula adjustments. Johnson estimates House Bill 1689 will cost the Hannibal school district $116,000 in foundation formula funds beginning in fiscal year 2015-16.

House Bill 42, which is sitting on the governor’s desk, could also impact district revenues.

“If this bill is not vetoed, school funding will be impacted,” wrote Johnson in her budget summary, noting that the legislation’s potential impact is unknown. “It’s a huge concern.”

Potential district revenue is sitting in escrow while tax appeals are heard. That process could take up to a year.

While district balances have surpassed $1.6 million, Johnson explained that a majority of the increases are due to a bump in the debt service levy that occurred in August 2014.

“Although this is a tremendous help to the school district, limitations on how those monies can be utilized are limited due to funding restrictions in that fund,” she wrote. “This increase was required and rollback regulations impede those funds from being used for district operations.”

Salaries for the certified staff, support personnel and administrators were “rolled over,” meaning all staff will get to move on the salary schedule for their years of service to give them their salary step as well as credit for additional education.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com .