School board finalizes, approves 2015-16 budget
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.