By Jamison Hooks
The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) is not planning to raise taxes, if the current proposed budget of nearly $32 million for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year (FY) is adopted as is in late July. BOE Chief Financial Advisor Libby Whitaker presented the $31, 896, 949 budget at a June 30 called meeting and announced the BOE could take the proposed rollback millage rate of 15.264. Whitaker was confident that the BOE would be able to take the rollback rate, despite a 6 percent increase in expenditures in the budget from last year’s budget of $30,896,949.
This increase is mainly the result of a governor-initiated 3 percent bonus for certified teachers, plus the BOE’s decision to implement a pay scale for classified staff. Combined, each of these budgetary initiatives totals $835,000.
“Teachers will see the biggest benefit in compensation through an added bonus this year,” said Whitaker. “The three percent bonus for certified teachers represents a $576,000 budgetary impact,” explained Whitaker. “It’s the biggest increase to the budget this year.”
On the positive side, Morgan County received a charter system grant of $284,000 and will likely receive a new bus this year.
The FY 2017 proposed budgeted revenue is set at $30 million, which represents a one percent increase from last year.
“We also had a reduction in student enrollment of 3,163 to 3,112 which caused a $138,000 decrease to state allotment,” explained Whitaker.
Whitaker also noted that an increase in property values caused the BOE to lose an additional $453,000.
“So overall when you take all those things into consideration, the increases and the decreases, funding from the state only increased $15,921,” said Whitaker.
“From the big picture stand point, we only gained $16,000 so any budgetary things we do outside of that 16k is coming from local funding.”
The BOE will vote on the proposed budget on Monday, July 25 at 5 p.m. in the meeting hall of the school board, located at 1065 East Avenue in Madison.