The is looking at taking $7 million out of its reserves to balance its budget for fiscal year 2013.
The Board of Education on Tuesday approved the school system’s budget, which shows $192 million in anticipated revenues and $199 million in anticipated expenditures, leaving a deficit of $7 million. By the end of the next fiscal year, the school system’s fund balance is projected to be at $14.93 million.
“We will continue to be conservative with our hires and our spending,” Superintendent Cliff Cole said. “I think we’ve done an excellent job over the last several years.”
Board member Nick Chester said the budget is good but not great.
“Our only solution can’t be to hope the economy will get better year-to-year,” he said.
Chester said the school system needs to do something structurally to improve its financial situation. However, he said he didn’t know exactly what that would entail.
“I don’t know what the answers are, but we’re at the point where we need to do some things and explore other options,” he said.
Of the $199 million in expenditures, approximately $179 million of that is allotted for personnel. The budget includes an overall decrease of 23 employees next year. It also includes up to five adjusted work days for employees. Next year, the school system will see an increase in health insurance premiums amounting to approximately $2.5 million for classified employees and $2 million for certified employees.
The school system’s millage rate will remain at 18.909 mills next year, the rate at which it has been set since the 2007-2008 school year. At that time, it equated to $71.8 million in tax revenues. It peaked the next year with $75.56 million in revenues generated. For fiscal year 2013, the millage is expected to generate $48.23 million in revenues for the school system.
A presentation of the fiscal year 2013 budget came on the heels of a financial update from Chief Financial Officer Gayle Blalock who said that, while the school system will see a deficit for the current fiscal year, it may not be as large as originally anticipated.
Although school system had originally projected that fiscal year 2012 would end with a $7.4 million deficit, she said on Tuesday that the difference between revenues and expenditures likely will only be $1 million. That’s partly due to additional revenues, such as $1.7 million in outstanding property taxes that were collected and $1.2 million in Quality Basic Education funds from the State of Georgia.
“That definitely makes your bottom line look better,” Blalock said.
Other factors included moving employees around and not filling vacancies, Blalock said.
“If that comes true, I’m saying our ending fund balance will be around $22 million going into next year’s budget,” she said.
As of May 31, the school system had generated $178.11 million in revenues and expended $174.93 million.