Archived Story

MCS expect $12M surplus

Published 1:03pm Thursday, August 29, 2013

The first of two budget reviews for Morgan County Schools in fiscal 2013-2014 showed a whopping surplus of $12 million in spite of an anticipated decline in state and federal funding.

Revenue from all sources is expected to reach $74.1 million. Of that amount, $37.8 million is coming from the state, $22 million from local sources and $6.1 million from the federal government.

The state is funding 493 teacher and certified support units as compared to 495 in fiscal 2012-2013, and is reducing total foundation program funds by $830,000.

Local funds are expected to increase by 3.5 percent or approximately $300,000 while Federal Title I and Title II funds dropped $51,000.

The proposed budget includes a 2% state salary increase for teachers and support personnel, $130,000 for technology upgrades, $85,000 to match local school fundraisers and the funding needed to put school resource officers in all five high schools in the system.

“Things are looking well financially,” said John Godwin, chief school finance officer. “However, things looked fair in 2007, when the system had $4.3 million in reserve, but it didn’t take long for it to slip away.”

The reserve dipped to $0.5 million in 2010 during state proration of funds, bouncing back to $7 million in 2012.

Godwin added, “as long as we plan wisely, we should maintain our surplus level. But we don’t need to take our eyes off the ball.”

Godwin said he included matching funds in the budget to help schools stretch the dollars they raise to fund school projects. He suggested that $5,000 be set aside for each school. For example, if a school held a fundraiser to buy new band uniforms, it would receive the $5,000 match as long as it generated more than $5,000 on its own.

“You will note from the figures in this budget proposal that state and federal funds are steadily decreasing,” Godwin stated. “Consequently, we’re being forced more and more to depend on local funding for our needs.”

Of the school’s system’s 491 teachers, librarians counselors and principals, 53 depend on local funding for their salaries and benefits.

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