Education news

Second open meeting allowing public comment on budget to be held on May 16

Polk School District will be looking to keep their budget balanced at $64 million in revenue and expenses for the coming year, which includes a $2 million fund balance left over for the year after teachers are paid and the costs of keeping the schools opened are all tallied up.

Board members got a look at the first round of numbers submitted by finance director Tammy McDonald during the May work session on Tuesday night, May 2, with expenses slightly less for the coming year.

This year’s budget includes $13 million in local tax revenue and $70,000 from other local sources, with a majority of the annual revenue coming from more than $46 million in money from the state. Most of that money will go toward funding teacher salaries and insurance, which with 2 percent raises tallied in was set at just over $45 million for the year.

The rest of the $17 million the school board could approve after a second public meeting held later this month includes $4 million for the school nutrition program, and $2 million in debt service. Most of the other costs incurred related to maintenance, transportation, general and school administration, central support, pupil services, media-related expenses and transfers of funds for programs.

$1.6 million of the $5 million the school board approved to use to finish the cost of the College and Career Academy building at Cedartown High School earlier in the year is also being paid back to the board in the FY 2018 budget.

After all the figures are tallied up and balanced, Polk School District will have an ending balance of $2.1 million left in the bank when they finish up the coming budget year.

Board member Hal Floyd asked why the school system looked to be spending less this coming fiscal year than it did in FY 2017, and one of the reasons McDonald said had to do with the College and Career Academy construction payment being accounted for on the current fiscal year’s budget.

Though less money is available in the general fund balance to use in case of shortfalls in the coming year, repayments from SPLOST revenues coming in that aren’t being used to repay bonds will go toward paying back the system for the money spent out of the fund balance for construction costs.

One line item set at zero in this year’s budget is construction services, since no new building projects are expected for the coming year.

By comparison, the FY 2018 numbers are slightly down. Revenue is $2 million less than it was during the current budget year, and close to $4 million less in expenditures.

The projected ending balance is also $3.1 million less than it was for the current budget year as well.

Board members had no other comments on the budget during the work session on Tuesday night.

Public comments will be heard during the next open meeting on the budget on May 16, with the tentative budget set to be passed that night. A final decision on the FY 2018 figures is expected on June 13.

The board won't be meeting for their May 9 regular session, combining both sessions into one for the month. Board members will also be gathering for their retreat on May 19.