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Fayette school revenues could drop $16-18 million next year

The Fayette County Board of Education may well be looking at $16.6-18.6 million decrease revenues over the budget they initially approved for the FY 2010 budget that ends June 30.

That was the news presented at the board’s April 20 meeting.

School board members heard a brief report by Comptroller Laura Brock outlining “best case” and “worst case” revenue scenarios that must be dealt with in the coming weeks prior to the adoption of the FY 2011 budget at the end of June.

As has been customary since the recession began, Brock noted that the figures she provided are estimates only based on the information currently available. That information could easily change, she said.

The school system began the year July 1 with a $185.5 million budget that showed state revenues totaling $93.9 million and local property tax revenue at $91.6 million. But falling state revenues and a 6.25 percent decrease in the tax digest changed all that.

Brock said total revenues under the “best case” scenario were projected at $170.686 million, including $83.478 million in state revenues and $79.738 million in property tax revenues.

As for the “worst case,” Brock projected revenues of $82.111 million from the state and $79.1 million from local property taxes, for a total of $168.681 million.

Other revenue variables such as auto taxes at $6.445 million and transfer, intangible and other local taxes totaling just over $1 million are expected to remain the same in either case.

But that is not the end of the story, noted Superintendent John DeCotis. Local school systems will also be responsible for anteing up $$1.208 million for state-mandated step raises for certified positions such as teachers and another $606,300 in required contributions to the teacher retirement system.

All totaled, the FY 2011 budget will potentially fall somewhere between $16.6-18.6 million below the one adopted 10 moths ago.

Meantime, the school system is projecting a fund balance of $14.92 million as of June 30. Those savings came by way of salary reductions, furlough days and a host of other cost-cutting measures enacted over the past two years.

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