BOE adopts $33 million budget

Whit Carpenter News

The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) revealed its budget for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year (FY) for $33 million. The board anticipates taking the rollback millage rate of 14.512, slightly down from last year’s rate of 14.718. The BOE will vote on the budget at the next regular meeting in July.

Next year’s budget increased its expenditures 1 percent from the previous year’s budget of $32.6 million.

“The biggest impactor this year is the teacher retirement system. That went from 16 percent to 20.9 percent required, which was $804,000,” said Dr. James Woodard, the superintendent for schools in Morgan County. “We anticipate it to level off and then begin to decrease in two or three years.”

The Teacher Retirement Service (TRS) rate is increasing because the employer’s contribution has more than doubled in the last seven years, from 10.2 percent in FY 2012 to 20.9 percent in FY 2019, according to Woodard.

“What might be missed in all those numbers is how hard everybody works to have a very fiscal budget,” said Keith Howard, BOE member for District 3.

“Had it not been for that TRS increase we would have been less than where we were a year before,” Howard said. “We can certainly end the year under budget.”

There will be two public hearings for the proposed budget on Monday, June 25 at 9 a.m. and Monday, July 16 at 5 p.m. in the Morgan County Board of Education Central Office, located on 1065 East Ave.

ESPLOST funds are increasing for the BOE, too. ESPLOST funds have slowly risen for FY 2018. The average monthly collection is higher than last year’s, from $281,273 to $304,272.

“It’s been picking up,” said Nancy Willis, director of finance for the school system. “It’s been the most this month.” May of FY 2018 raised $336,699, the most since the program began in July of FY 2016.  “The cash flow is built on a projected revenue of $275,000 a month,” Woodard said. “However, the average for the past 11 months is $304,272.”

According to Woodard this is 9.1 percent higher than FY 2017. ESPLOST is currently collecting an average of $29,272 more per month within the past 11 months, said Woodard.

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