BOE budget is $26.5 million

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) voted to approve the advertisement of a proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015, showing total expenditures of more than $27,800,000 and total revenues of approximately $27,565,000. The proposed expenditures for FY 2015 would be an increase of more than $1,216,000 from the FY 2014 budget passed last year. Superintendent Ralph Bennett stated that the largest increase in expenditures results from the elimination of furlough days from the school calendar, which will cost the school approximately $670,000. Bennett said that the state government reduced the adjusted formula amendment so that they would not cover the full amount of the furlough days, resulting in $1,400,000 being held back.

BOE Chair Nelson Hale said that the amount held back was roughly 60 percent of the total cost. The direct instruction expenditures, the largest set of proposed expenditures for the coming year, increased more than $600,000 from the FY 2014 budget to the proposed FY 2015 budget, totaling more than $19,630,000. The second-largest and third-largest expenditures are for Maintenance and Operations, and School Administration, which come in at approximately $1,970,000 and $1,870,000, respectively.

The largest source of revenue projected for FY 2015 are state sources and property ad valorem taxes, totaling around $14,700,000 and $12,230,000, respectively. The balance of the budget, being roughly $235,000, will be taken out of the revenue balance, which will stand at more than $2,650,000 after FY 2015. The proposed BOE budget will also reserve approximately $5,996,000 for operations through December of FY 2016. The BOE also voted to approve the advertisement of the 2014 tax digest and five-year history of levy. The advertisement for the 2014 tax digest shows that the gross digest increased from approximately $794,000,000 in 2013 to more than $917,000,000 for 2014. Hale stated that they would be taking the rollback millage rate, which will be 16.477, down from 18.213 the previous year.

According to the advertisement, there will still be a 4.06 percent increase in taxes levied, which translates into an increase of $505,000. The board voted to approve a spending resolution for July 2014 while the BOE works to finalize their FY 2015 budget. The BOE voted to appoint Sarah Burbach as Interim Superintendent, effective July 1, 2014. Hale stated that Burbach served as Interim Superintendent three years ago before the board chose Ralph Bennett and that Burbach would “perform official capacities” on behalf of the board as they “continue [their] search” for a permanent replacement for Bennett. The BOE also approved: a recommendation to approve an overnight trip requested by Denise Frost to take Morgan County High School and Middle School Cheerleaders to Shorter University from July 7 to July 10. a recommendation to waive a board policy GAG to Brett Bell to transfer from MCMS to MCHS. a recommendation to approve the personnel list for June 30, 2014.

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