School board members voted to issue more than $16 million in general obligation building bonds during a special meeting Monday evening.

Those bonds, the district’s executive director of finance said, will be used for construction, technology and safety improvements.

The board vote follows bond election, held earlier this year. In February, voters approved $21.8 million in general obligation bonds by a 70 percent margin.

“The biggest part of this issue is construction,” said Norman Dean, district finance director. “About $10.1 million is earmarked for construction, $3.2 million for technology, instruction and fine arts and the remainder for safety improvements.”

The bonds would be issued by Well Fargo Brokerage of Salt Lake City, Dean said.

Yet, while the district officials are pleased with the bond issue’s success, they remain concerned about the district’s budget.

“Assuming Gov. Henry signs House Bill 1234, we still project that our June 30 carryover balance will decline by about 1.5 to 2 percent,” Dean said. “There was no operations money provided in the 2007 common education bill.”

On Monday, Henry’s office confirmed the governor would sign supplemental appropriations for the state’s education and corrections departments.

“The supplemental is a help,” Dean said. “And we appreciate it. But we’re watching very carefully. This is money we should have received much earlier in the year. These underfunded mandates just can’t continue.”

The district’s share of the $40 million-plus supplemental appropriation will be about $1.5 to 2 million, he said.

Dean said district administrators are “currently engaged in internal meetings” to identify budget reduction opportunities.

Some of those opportunities including “absorbing” some district positions.

“There’s always turnover during the summer and we may take that opportunity — depending on the funding present — to absorb some positions,” he said.

Yet that could prove difficult in Moore.

At present, district growth is about 400 to 600 students per year, with more than 20,000 students currently enrolled. The district operates two high schools, five junior high schools, 21 elementary schools and five alternative academies.

A third high school, Southmoore, is scheduled to open in 2008.

The district’s budget totals more than $116.1 million.

“Right now, we’re on pretty solid financial footing,” he said. “Probably this year we’ll be fine. But what concerns many administrators in common education community is if this same type of legislative funding activity continues over many years, we’ll all be in very dire straits. It’s either famine or feast.”

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