New buses, updgrades in BSD budget

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The proposed budget of $31 million for the Brookhaven School District’s 2016-2017 year includes several new buses, facility maintenance and upgrades to wireless internet.

“We’re very pleased with our budget,” said incoming BSD Superintendent Ray Carlock. “Assuming everything else was budgeted the same as last year and we can do these projects, things that really needed to be done, I am very pleased that we will have a very good school year. At the end of it, our fund balance will be basically what it is now. We shouldn’t have a lot of change.”

Director of Finance Linda Reeves presented a proposal for an increased budget in a special-called board meeting Tuesday.

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About 35.50 percent of the budget comes from local sources. Of the local sources, $10,268,507 — 33.10 percent of the total budget — is proposed to come from ad valorem taxes.

Ad valorem taxes are those taxes paid on homes, automobile tags, business fixtures and equipment, and rental real property. The school board sets the amount they need for their budget and the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen sets the millage needed to fund it.

It was previously reported the board’s request could cause a slight tax increase for residents and business owners in the district. The amount proposed at Tuesday’s meeting was about $600,000 than previously considered.

Other local sources include $262,000 from school lunches, $186,886 from student activity and $296,360 from other local sources like donations.

From the state, $13,447,438 — 43.35 percent of the total budget — will come from the Mississippi Adequate Education program.

“The Legislature did not appropriate full funding for MAEP yet again,” Reeves said. “Which resulted in the district being shorted by $1,023,126 in MAEP funds.”

Homestead exemption accounts for $237,690 of the state revenue, vocational education accounts for $295,523 and other state revenue sources account for $424,041.

Reeves said federal funding is mostly derived from three main grants. A Title I grant — given out to schools with a high percentage of low-income families — accounts for $1,676,614. Child nutrition grants account for $1,595,485, vocational education accounts for $43,750 and other grands account for only $1,382,477.

The proposed budget also appropriates the same amount in expenditures, with 54.62 percent — $16,944,519 — going to instructional services which deal directly with teaching students. Support services account for 10,770,102, or 30.72 percent of total expenditures. Non-instructional services, which includes cafeteria operation, account for $1,845,443, 16th section land uses $228,300 and long-term debt payments account for $1,233,923. No money was appropriated for facilities construction.

Carlock said the proposed budget is similar to the one proposed last year.

“As far as projects, budgeted in there are three buses. Capital projects, around $300,000. Capital projects — all different types of projects — a lot of that has to do with chillers and major upgrades,” he said. “Just all together: three buses, capital projects and technology, that’s  $768,000.”

School Board Chairperson Erin Smith was quick to note that the district’s fund balance was in good shape.

“Not having an accountant’s background, when you hear that we’re supposed to have 7 percent minimum and you have a 20 plus percent fund balance, that’s always good for the committee to know that,” Smith said to Reeves. “I think it speaks for all your work and your office staff.”

The board will vote on the proposed budget at the next meeting, June 28 at 6 p.m.