Fayette BoE meets this Thursday night to talk budget
The Fayette County Board of Education will hold a budget workshop this Thursday (May 31) at 7 p.m. at the school system office in Fayetteville. Though nothing pertaining to the workshop was posted online when the paper went to press, the school board will likely hear comments from Superintendent Jeff Bearden relating to the budget that will be adopted in June.
As it stands now, the 2012-2013 budget includes $163 million in revenues and $178 million in expenditures, leaving a shortfall of $15 million, and board members will be asked to balance the budget by using the entire $15 million fund balance June 30.
Commenting on the proposed 2012-2013 budget at the May meeting and referring to the estimated revenues and expenses, Comptroller Laura Brock said the projected $15 million in fund balance expected on June 30 will be needed to balance the budget.
“It looks like we’ll use up all the fund balance,” Brock said. She explained that more than $11 million in expenses has reduced for next year through measures such as cuts in the operating budget, the new 177-day school year that takes effect in July that will save $3.3 million and the proposed reduction of staff positions through attrition that will save at least $4 million.
As for a comparison of the revenue and expenditures side of the budget for this year and next, local property taxes this year were budgeted at $81.6 million and vehicle tags at $6.4 million. For 2012-2013, vehicle tags are expected to remain at the $6.4 million level, but property taxes are forecast to shrink to $72.4 million, a decrease of more than $9 million due to the 10.39 percent decrease in the tax digest.
The school system saved several million dollars this year by not filling staff vacancies and freezing some positions. Subsequently, the $8.6 million fund balance from June 30 last year is projected to be approximately $15 million at the end of next month. Bearden said he will continue to analyze vacancies during the upcoming school year.
Bearden at the May meeting remarked that personnel costs account for 90.8 percent of the budget.
As for state (QBE) funding, those dollars budgeted this year totaled $79.6 million while the level next year is expected to increase to $81.4 million, due in part to increases in the teacher retirement system and step salary increases. Brock said she would report back on QBE earnings toward the end of the fiscal year in June.
Yet on the horizon is the reduction in state QBE dollars amounting to approximately $4,000 per student per year. The school system this year lost more than 700 students in its overall enrollment and a total of 1,760 students since 2007. Total enrollment is now at the level seen in the 2001 time frame.
The budget for 2011-2012 was balanced by using more than half of the $26 million fund balance from last June 30. The remaining fund balance, along with cost-saving measures this year, will result in a fund balance on June 30 that totals approximately $15 million. It will take that entire sum to balance the 2012-2013 budget.
Unless things change, Bearden is expected to make the official budget proposal on June 4 meeting. The 2012-2013 school year begins July 1.