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Proposed BOE budget to drain reserves by $1M

Published 12:17pm Monday, September 16, 2013

The Hartselle City Board of Education will consider tonight whether it will pass a $31.8 million budget that will deplete its general fund reserves by $1 million.

The bottom line of the budget was a concern for board members. School Superintendent Vic Wilson said several factors that caused budgeting issues included an $844,000 utility cost at the new high school and some much needed repairs at existing schools.

The meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. A budget hearing will be held first followed by the regular meeting.

“We’re trying to drill down exactly what’s causing us to go over budget,” Wilson said during a budget hearing on Thursday. “The utilities at the new high school could be one of the factors. It could be that we’re having to make many one-time expenditures this year.”

Chief school financial officer Jonathan Craft said he anticipates that the school system will have three and two-thirds months of operating expenses at the end of the 2013-2014 budget cycle.

“All of our numbers are very conservative at this point,” Craft said. “We’d rather give you the worst-case scenario up front.”

Wilson told school board members that they will look for ways to cut costs across the board. He even suggested giving principals incentives for energy conservation.

He also suggested finding additional sources of funding. One program was the Impact Aid program, which will give school systems money based on how many of the students’ parents work at Redstone Arsenal.

Wilson said it could add $300,000 to $500,000 in revenue.

Board member Jennifer Sittason said the system was denied funding from the program in the past.

“Right now, we’re exploring every option that we can,” Wilson said. “The worst thing they can tell us is ‘no.’”

The school system is expected to receive $31.4 million in total revenue, $23.3 million of which will be allocated for the general fund. Total expenses are expected to be $31.8 million with $24.1 million allocated to come from the general fund.

When other fund sources and revenues are combined, the revenue deficiency rose to $1 million.

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