BOE’s FY14 budget topic of discussion at Town Hall
By Stephanie Johns
Local schools will have to work around an almost $3 million deficit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.
Dr. Ralph Bennett, superintendent of Morgan County Charter School System, shared the proposed FY 2014 budget during a town hall meeting hosted by Board of Education (BOE) member Dave Belton.
According to numbers shared by Bennett, state revenue projections for FY 2013 are almost $12.8 million. Local revenue projections for FY 2013, ad valorem only, are about $11.7 million. These two numbers total about $24.4 million.
Expenditure projections for FY 2013 total more than $27 million. The difference between these two numbers: more than $2.9 million.
Several possible sources to offset that deficit include more than $370,000 in a reserve balance, about $1 million in savings from modifying the employee work calendar, almost $66,500 from additional furlough days and $900,000 from school reductions.
The total of the possible offsets: more than $2.3 million. This would leave the deficit to a little more than $587,000.
Other possible offset sources include a reduction of more than $230,000 in administration supplements, more than $800,000 in local supplements and a $2 million CD from the general fund for a new school.
In a later e-mail Bennett shared that “all budget figures are preliminary and budget cuts are not final until the full Board approves recommendations.”
During the meeting Belton pointed out that for the sixth year in a row they have returned the millage rate back to the roll back rate; the cost per child ratio is falling.
Also, they have cut 9 percent from the budget since 2009. Teachers received a 6 percent pay cut this year and the number of teachers continues to dwindle as they have cut 10 percent of their teachers.
He shared via e-mail that schools have entered a “new normal.”
“The cold hard truth is that the state is not going to give us any more money for education in the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “The Constitutional Amendment I am lobbying for would allow local School Boards to exercise local control of our local ELOST money.”
Belton said that this proposed amendment to ELOST, or Education Local Option Sales Tax, “would allow us to tap a revenue stream that is already in place without adding any new taxes in order to save our teachers.”
Printed in the February 21, 2013 edition