County schools planning new $17.5M budget

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lincoln County School District officials Monday pitched a $17.5million new year budget plan that is not expected to require anyadditional money from local taxpayers.

“We are not anticipating an increase in millage. We are askingfor the same amount we got this year,” said Business Manger CherylShelby during an afternoon public hearing at the district’s mainoffice.

The proposed budget anticipates $3.18 million coming fromproperty taxes. However, citing a three-month difference betweenthe school district’s fiscal year and the county’s fiscal year,Shelby indicated the number could change slightly.

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“In the next three months, I’ll be able to revise that estimatemore,” she said.

School officials are expected to approve the new year budgetduring a special meeting on June 27. They will also handle anyother closeout business in anticipation of the fiscal year end onJune 30.

Among budgeted revenue, $3.38 million is expected to come fromproperty taxes and other local sources, $13.58 million from thestate and a little over $313,000 from federal sources.

Among planned expenditures, Shelby said approximately 78 percentof the budget will go toward teachers’ salaries and benefits. Basedon conversations with other school district business managers inthe state, she indicated that was in line with the currenttrend.

“It’s running close to 80 percent statewide,” she said. “We’reright there close.”

Spending plans also anticipate $3.3 million for several capitalprojects in the coming year. Shelby said those include about 12 newclassrooms at Enterprise and a reroofing project at BogueChitto.

“Those reroofing projects are pretty major,” she said.

Like preparing to purchase a new vehicle, Superintendent TerryBrister said the district had been saving over the years in orderto do the capital projects. Among actual vehicle purchases, thedistrict is budgeted to buy four new buses in the next year.

Brister said school board members can be proud of their frugalapproach to the budget. He said the board has done well in itsefforts to manage funding while not asking for tax increases inrecent years.

“We stay within the budget and do right,” Brister said.

Brister was also appreciative for this year’s full funding ofthe Mississippi Adequate Education Program by state lawmakers. Thecounty school district’s MAEP allocation is $12.8 million.

Brister and Shelby were hopeful that MAEP full funding wouldcontinue and that tight budget times can be put behind thedistrict.

“We walked the tightrope and made it to the other side,” Shelbysaid.