By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer
The Choctaw County School Board plans to operate on a $15. 4 million budget for the 2012-2013 school year. In their July 18 Budget Hearing, Superintendent Glen Beard announced that the district would not ask for an increase of ad valorem taxes from the county.
He said that this is the third year the school district has not asked for an increase in local taxes.
In the budget hearing, Beard explained the major revenue and expenditures of the district. The major sources of revenue are: State-45.17 percent ($6,582,301) of the total budget, Local-36.99 percent ($5,390,285) and Federal 15.33 percent ($2,233,628) with a total revenue budget of $14,571,833.22.
Expenditures are expected to total $15,928,055.34 for the 2012-2013 budget. Beard explained that the major expenditures include: Salaries 47.37 percent, Fringe Benefits 15.56 percent, Transfers 11.75 percent (which includes programs that are not covered by MAPE funds), Support 8.45 percent, Dues 5.72 percent (which includes fees, principal and interest), Utility and repairs 5.05 percent, Professional Development 2.04 percent, Travel 2.04 percent and Equipment/buses 2.02 percent.
He said that K-12 instruction, salaries and fringe benefits is the majority of the district’s expenditures. Salaries of all employees of the school district along with the fringe benefits that include retirement, health and life insurance, workman’s comp. and unemployment make up almost 63 percent of the expenditures.
Beard acknowledged the gap of funds between the total amounts of revenue expected and planned expenditures.
“There is a gap between revenue and expenditures. I know that. We are fortunate enough to have reserve to fill that,” said Beard. He added that the district cannot afford to keep using reserve funds also.
Beard listed some challenges with the proposed budget for the upcoming school year. He said that MAEP was not fully funded and will short the CCSD $750,000.
He said the local power plant not being added as new property to the county tax roll as previously thought is a challenge. Beard said they expect to see ad valorem taxes from that new growth in 2014.
He also said federal funds have been cut back with no more stimulus funds then the required PERS match by the district has increased plus the increasing costs of fuel, utilities and insurance.
Beard added that with Common Core beginning the district will have to purchase new textbooks that would be approximately $200,000 if not more.
On a positive side, Beard explained that the school district will not ask for an increase in ad valorem taxes and they have cut expenditures by approximately $1 million for the 2012-2013 school year.
Beard said the cuts in expenditures include attrition or absorbing as many positions s possible and prioritizing needs. He said they have limited the number of people with purchasing powers and are using the lowest prices for items as they can.
After presenting the proposed budget, the School Board allow for questions and comments. At this time, District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers began discussing why the local power plant was not added to the tax roll as new growth for this fiscal year. This sparked a discussion and debate with Kenny Clark, CCSD business manager, and others about when the CCSD needs to know tax information on the power plant next year, what that figure could be and a possible shortfall.
The School Board will adopt the 2012-2013 budget on Monday, July 30 at 7 p.m.