Calhoun City Schools’ Board of Education met on Monday, May 24, at noon for its first public hearing on the budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 at the Calhoun City Schools Board of Education, 334 South Wall Street.
The Board reviewed the proposed FY22 budget during the noon work session and adopted the proposed budget at the regular monthly meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. that same evening. Details of the proposed budget include:
Local revenues decreased by $582,600 due to The City of Calhoun going to 100% Freeport in Fiscal Year 2022. This is projected to increase the exemptions between $45 million and $55 million, which results in a projected loss of $705,000 to our tax revenues. We are hopeful that our digest growth will offset some of this loss, but at this time we do not have any information from the tax office.
The QBE allotment increased by $739,477, mainly due to a decrease in the austerity cut. Initially, in FY21 our austerity cut was $2,258,178. In FY22, our austerity cut is only $894,153. Total state revenues increased by $785,177 with the additional increase due to an increase in state grants.
Since 2003, Calhoun City Schools has had a total of $20,614,530 in austerity cuts. We have been awarded two additional grants which will be available for the next few years. CARES II totals $3,360,742 and is in effect until FY23.
This budget has been approved and is part of the Other Funds portion of the budget. We are using CARES II for salaries and benefits for paraprofessionals at the Complex, custodial costs, a van for transporting a student to the Georgia School for the Deaf, and a new counselor at Calhoun Middle School. Some of these expenditures are normally in the general fund budget and will have to be absorbed in FY24. The second grant is ESSER III ARP (American Rescue Plan) and totals $7,547,749. We are still in the process of determining the budget based on the latest guidance, so this is not in the Other Funds portion of the budget. This grant has a requirement that 20% be spent to address the loss of learning and we are only receiving 65% of the total initially. Once we create the budget, we will have to wait until it is approved by the Department of Education before we have access to the funds. This grant has carryover until June 30, 2024.
Based on the district school improvement plan, new positions were added for FY22. In the General Fund, added positions include a teacher for the visually impaired at the elementary school, a district level exceptional student services specialist, a full-time teacher at the Calhoun Online Learning Academy (instead of two part-time), and a bus driver. These total $180,500. In Fund 150, (consolidation of local, state, federal funds), a district-wide math coach is included. In CARES II (federal grants) a counselor at Calhoun Middle School (based on enrollment) and a custodial supervisor are included. (The district has elected to terminate its contract with ABM custodial services.).
All employees received a step increase which totals $212,742 across all funds. The employer portion of TRS (Teacher’s Retirement System) increased from 19.06% to 19.81%. The budget impact was an increase of $150,000. Every year we have employees who will receive advanced degrees during the year, and we budget for this increase to their salary and benefits. For FY22, the total increase for advanced degrees is approximately $100, 584.
The largest increase to the budget is in Operating Transfers. We have to transfer General Fund to other funds every year for various reasons. For example, we transfer funds to Lottery Pre-K because the state does not fund Pre-K in full. Operating Transfers increased by $5,585,044 mainly due to the construction of the Early Learning Academy and Fund 150.
The projected amount needed for the Early Learning Academy from the General Fund is $6,115,000. Because the Department of Education changed the way we budget Fund 150, we are showing a transfer from the General Fund of $833,727. Last year, this expense would have been shown in the various functions and objects in the General Fund budget. In order to balance the budget, $4,561,407 will be used from our ending balance.
The City Council will meet and consider for adoption on June 28, at 7 p.m. at the Depot. The Board of Education will meet and consider for adoption on June 28, at 6 p.m. at the Board of Education.