School District Receives Coveted Meritorious Budget Award

Dr. Travis Hux proudly holds the Meritorious Budget award presented to ESSD for the 21-22 budget (photo S Jason Cole).

The Excelsior Springs School District under the leadership of Superintendent, Dr. Travis Hux has been awarded, for the first time ever, the Association of School Business Officials'(ASBO) Meritorious Budget Award (MBA). This coveted annual recognition places the Excelsior Springs School District in elite company with only a handful of other Missouri school districts achieving the distinction. Last year only 7 other districts out of 518 in the state of Missouri received this award. According to ASBO, School districts that are awarded the Meritorious Budget Award understand the importance of presenting an accessible and accurate budget to build trust and clearly communicate with stakeholders in their communities. Inheriting a deficit budget in his first year as superintendent, Hux buckled down and worked with the school board and other administrators to build a comprehensive budget that is not only clear and accessible but also resulted in a surplus of funds. Hux emphasized his number one goal with the budget is transparency. “This is above and beyond the basics. Any person who may or may not understand how a school district works should be able to pick up this budget, look it over, and not only gain an understanding of what our expenses and revenues are, but see how it applies to us as a school district,” he said.

Hux says he looks forward to filling the spaces on this plaque with more awards (photo S Jason Cole).

Looking at the awards plaque, Hux noted the empty spaces that follow the initial award. “That’s the kicker, right? Once you get the award, you need to work to maintain it, and keep doing it,” he said with a chuckle. But Hux doesn’t seem too worried, the surplus budget this year is allowing the district to offer teachers and staff in Excelsior Springs a 6% average increase in salary, something he said was overdue. “My goal is to continue that effort, you know, and pay employees as much as we can here because we really value and appreciate them, and frankly, teaching is a hard job,” he said. (In the U.S., Missouri ranks 50th in starting teacher pay, with an average salary of just $32,970.) Hux said district officials were also mindful of the future when creating their budget, as best as they could. There are many facets to a budget as large as the school district’s, with lots of unknown variables affecting forecasts, all of which have been examined and taken into account. In addition to crafting a surplus budget, administrators and teachers worked diligently over the past year to create a Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP) that plots out a course for success over the next 5 years. “If you really want to move a district forward, or any organization forward, you got to have a plan. When I first started this position, I didn’t have that plan… but now we have it and we’re rocking and rolling, I’m really excited,” he said.

Learn more about the Meritorious Budget Award and the Missouri Association of School Business Officials at their website.

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