City BOE approves budget to include potential capital improvements

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 9/13/18

Jasper City Schools approved their budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a second budget hearing held Wednesday morning, and it includes some potential monies that could be used to revitalize the …

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City BOE approves budget to include potential capital improvements

Posted

Jasper City Schools approved their budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a second budget hearing held Wednesday morning, and it includes some potential monies that could be used to revitalize the district's baseball and football fields. 

The budget is comprised of state, federal, local and other funding sources and is effective for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019.

Chief School Financial Officer Monique Rector said she feels the school system has a healthy budget, which will leave room for some capital improvements. 

The district's budget is comprised of general, special revenue, capital projects and fiduciary (in-school) funds.

At the first budget hearing on Tuesday evening, Rector began the meeting by discussing projected state revenues — the highest being state revenue from the Foundation Program of just over $14.2 million.

"That's just our general funding, based on our units and our average daily membership," Rector said.

The school system is also set to receive $106,635 in state funding  for purchasing school buses; however, Rector said the school system has not budgeted having to purchase buses, so the funds can carry over. In the current fiscal year, the school system had to purchase two buses. 

State revenues will total just over $16.1 million in all funds.

Federal revenues include $649,400 for special education, $34,325 for career technical education, $21,921 for English-language learner education, $653,130 for food and nutrition and other funding sources. Total federal revenues will be over $2.2 million.

In terms of local revenue, the school system is projected to receive local county sales tax revenue of roughly $3.9 million — a figure Rector explained.

"They base it on average daily membership," she said. "It's split between the county and the city based on enrollment, and it comes really close to 25 percent for us and 75 percent for the county."

Rector said the school system is also projected to receive motor vehicle tax monies of $112,000 and district sales tax of just over $2.3 million.

Total local revenue sources are projected at a little over $10 million, and total revenues from state, federal, local and other financing sources are projected at roughly $29.6 million.

The district's expenditures will include instructional services totaling just over $15.7 million in total funds, which includes salaries and technology purchases for student use.

Teacher salaries vary according to years of experience and level of education. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can make between $40,071 and $51,541 based on years of experience. The highest teacher salary would be for those with a doctorate and at least 27 years of experience — $67,414.

Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson's salary is $161,438, with the state raise implemented over the summer.

Salaries for all positions are public record and can be obtained from Jasper City Schools.

Total expenditures for all uses are estimated at just over $31.2 million and would include salaries, instructional support services, operation and maintenance, auxiliary services (buses and child nutrition), administrative services, debt service of just over $497,000 and capital projects.

The school system has intentionally budgeted $2.1 million that could be used for upgrades to the district's football and softball fields. Jackson explained it is an estimated cost for repairs that are necessary.

"The number that we moved to budget for fields and repairs is a result of decades of deferred maintenance. It is time that we address some of our athletic fields and facilities," Jackson said. "We have a pipe that has collapsed. It starts at Valley Road, runs down second  base, behind the football stadium, and out to 19th Street. The collapse has created significant drainage issues throughout that entire area, including the football field. So, we do not have a choice in redoing the baseball field.

"We are also exploring what options we have with our football field. The football field has not been redone since 1990. We have repaired as much as we can, but now it is time to address what is needed to fix the problems. We have had people out looking at both fields but haven't received all of the estimates of what it will cost to redo these playing fields."

Jackson said the school district wants to take a closer look at all their facilities, and she said a conversation is overdue about creating a track for the high school's track and field team.

"We are just in the conversation stage with regards to this and other playing surfaces. It is expensive just to get to the starting process.  Before anything could be done, architects, engineers and building commission would have to be hired to see what all is possible," she said. "Of course, we know that at Jasper High School, for anything to be done there, a significant amount of dirt work would have to be done.  So, we have budgeted a high number simply because, at this point, we don't know what all will be required to do some of the things that need to be done."  

Rector said it is responsible for the potential projects to be budgeted, and the school system is hopeful to receive additional monies from state and federal sources. 

The district has also been required to budget work at their central office to address flood damage to the lower level of the building that occurred after torrential rainfall flooded nearby Town Creek in July. The overflow caused extensive damage to the central office.

Rector said reconstruction is ongoing at an estimated cost of $30,000 to replace walls, carpet, electrical components and to paint the space that was heavily damaged by flood waters. The school system will also be required to pay SERVPRO for cleaning the flooded building and Delta Transfer for moving costs. Appliances, copy machines and other items were also damaged or destroyed during the flood.

The school district's insurance deductible would have been $100,000 for the repairs, but they are estimating their total costs to come in around $75,000.

Despite some hardships, Rector said the school system has an operating reserve of 5.3 months, and they are only required to have three months.     

Overall, the school system is projected to begin the fiscal year with a total funds balance of just over $13.1 million and have a total ending funds balance of just over $11.4 million.

Their beginning funds balance is higher than they projected it to be in last year's budget by around $300,000.

"I feel good about the budget. We've got enough money to decide what we want to do as far as capital improvements, and if we choose to do some big ticket items ... I think we've got good information here to decide that," Rector said. "We're in great shape."