School board fi­nal­izes, ap­proves 2015-16 bud­get

The Standard Journal - - EDUCATION - By KEVIN MYRICK Editor

The fi­nal­ized bud­get num­bers for the 201516 fis­cal year for Polk School Dis­trict are ap­proved, and teach­ers will still be get­ting their one-time pay­ment dur­ing the com­ing school year.

The fi­nal bud­get was ap­proved unan­i­mously mi­nus the vote of Bernard Mor­gan, who was ab­sent from the Tues­day, June 9 ses­sion at the Nathan Dean Cen­ter in Rockmart.

In­cluded in the num­bers are $42,056,927 in spend­ing on in­struc­tional costs, or nearly 73 per­cent of the over­all ex­pen­di­tures for the com­ing year.

Another $1,071,930 is be­ing spent on pupil ser­vices, $ 706,272 on im­prove­ment of in­struc­tion, $1,017,041 on media, $550,493 on gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion and $3,571,355 on school ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The school board also bud­geted $4,870,891 in spend­ing on main­te­nance, and $2,392,308 was al­lo­cated for trans­porta­tion costs.

Another $1,219,416 was set aside for spend­ing on Cen­tral Sup­port, Other Uses and Trans­fers, and in busi­ness-re­lated ex­penses for the com­ing fis­cal year.

On the rev­enue side of the bud­get, lo­cal taxpayers are ex­pected to con­trib­ute $13 mil­lion to the Polk School Dis­trict in 2015-16, or just over 23 and a half per­cent of the over­all rev­enues.

The state will make up the ma­jor­ity of the school sys­tem’s bud­get, with $41,843,936 com­ing from the state’s bud­get to pay for ed­u­ca­tion lo­cally.

The school’s bal­ance sheet for 2015-16 also in­cludes $5,385,300 in to­tal debt ser­vice.

Rev­enue in the form of grants and fed­eral pro­grams in­cludes money from spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion grants from the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, money pro­vided to help home­less chil­dren and youth in the class­room, Pre-K state lottery as­sis­tance and the school nutri­tion pro­gram.

All to­taled, Polk School Dis­trict will re­ceive some $10.5 mil­lion in grants and state and fed­eral funds to help with the sys­tem’s over­all bud­get­ing.

Af­ter all is said and done, the fi­nan­cial plan­ners in the school sys­tem ex­pect to have $5,966,447 left in the bank by the end of the fis­cal year in June 2016.

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion’s ten­ta­tive bud­get ap­proved in May in­cluded a to­tal of $63 mil­lion in com­bined rev­enues and the be­gin­ning bal­ance from the 2014-15 fis­cal year, and will spend $57 mil­lion over­all in the com­ing year.

Only slight changes from the ten­ta­tive bud­get to the fi­nal­ized bud­get were made, mainly in ar­eas like in­struc­tional ex­pen­di­tures where the amount of money be­ing spent on salaries went down some.

Be­fore the bud­get was ap­proved on June 9, su­per­in­ten­dent Wil­liam Hunter told board mem­bers that the one-time pay­ment be­ing given to teach­ers in­stead of raises would oc­cur some­time dur­ing the fall.

Dur­ing the board’s May meet­ing, Hunter had orig­i­nally in­di­cated the ex­tra pay­ments would be is­sued some­time af­ter the win­ter hol­i­days, but had been un­sure on a timetable at the time.

He said he was also pleased with the school sys­tem’s abil­ity to con­tinue to have plenty of cash on hand with be­gin­ning and fi­nal bal­ances for the year well ex­ceed­ing what he feels the sys­tem needs to keep oper­a­tions go­ing with­out prob­lems.

“It’s al­ways a good idea to have money in the bank to en­sure that there is enough to meet monthly salaries, and I think we’ve done that and more with this bud­get,” he said.

He pointed out that end- of- year bal­ances have been much lower than the ex­pected $5.9 mil­lion Polk School Dis­trict will have at hand by sum­mer 2016.

“Though once we’ve fin­ished our au­dits and get through the year, we con­ser­va­tively think we’ll end up be­ing at around $8 mil­lion left this year as well,” Hunter said.

His big­gest fear is hav­ing to raise prop­erty taxes to cover ed­u­ca­tion costs lo­cally.

“The last thing we want to do is raise taxes,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll have to for the fore­see­able fu­ture.”

Fi­nal ap­proval of the bud­get was needed this month in or­der to en­sure its fil­ing with the proper author­i­ties with the state’s Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

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