• 59°

Brookhaven School District approves $31M budget by vote of 4-0

It took less than 30 seconds Tuesday for the Brookhaven School District’s Board of Trustees to discuss and vote to approve the $31 million budget for Fiscal Year 2019.

The quick action likely came because there was no discussion and only four of the five members voted.

Board Chairman Willie “Doc” Harrison recused himself during the vote because his daughter, LaRenda Janee’ Harrison, is director of alternative education services at Fannie Mullins and it would be a conflict of interest for him to vote.

“He can’t vote on anything that has to do with her,” Superintendent Ray Carlock said.

Harrison handed the duties over to Vice Chairwoman Lucy Shell and he left the room with Carlock during the vote.

The board held a public hearing June 19 to go over the budget, though no one from the public attended.

The district will operate on close to $31 million for the upcoming school year. District finance director Cheryl Shelby presented the board with a balanced budget at the public hearing that draws $30,819,453 in revenue and plans for slightly more than $32 million in expenditures. The budget will get a slight bump in revenue from a 4-percent increase in local ad valorem contributions, which the law allows districts to ask for annually.

Brookhaven’s budget for FY 2019 will consist of $13,769,301 in state funding through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, good for almost 45 percent of the plan. Local tax contributions make up almost 38 percent of the budget for $11,598,326. The federal government is kicking in almost 17 percent of the budget at $5,130,285, and the district’s 16th Section revenues are projected to be $321,541, barely 1 percent.

The district is planning to request $9,460,140 in local ad valorem taxes for the new budget, an increase of $606,000 over last year’s total. The increase should knock out an MAEP shortfall of $534,000 that is contributing to an overall district shortage of around $575,000.

The district will use a little more than $1.3 million in debt service — $558,000 will pay the note on a general obligation bond, $412,000 is for payments on past years’ shortfall loans and close to $349,000 is for a three-mill note.

Paying the district’s employees is about 73 percent of the expenditures. Total salaries and benefits are $23.3 million. The remaining $8.6 million will pay for professional services, supplies, equipment and other costs.

The district will pay the $1.2 million gap between revenues and expenditures by pulling together cash on-hand from various small accounts.

The entire meeting took about 17 minutes, though the agenda covered four and half printed pages.

The bulk of the agenda came under the “consent agenda” heading, which means all of the items can be lumped together and voted on as one item. Board members voted on the 24 items as a whole with no discussion.

While many of the items pertained to routine actions like approving the disposal of textbooks and specific fundraising requests, contracts for school pictures and yearbooks, payroll schedules and a school bus turnaround, some items appear to be worthy of some discussion.

Board members approved several plans without discussion: the dropout and graduation restructuring plan, the district’s strategic plan and the instructional management plan. They also approved through the consent agenda the special education annual contracts for Speech Pathology Associates, Revelation Counseling, Rosemont Consulting Services and Millcreek School of Magee.

The next regular board meeting is July 24 at 6 p.m. at the district office next to Brookhaven High School.