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Lincoln County School District Board approves $24.6M budget

The Lincoln County School District approved a $24.6 million budget for Fiscal Year 2019 with just three of the five members voting Thursday.

Superintendent Mickey Myers and board members Johnny Hart and Kay Coon recused themselves from voting because they have relatives in the school district who would be affected by the budget. The three stepped outside the board room at the district office and Assistant Superintendent Letha Presley called for a vote.

District Business Manager Sam Stewart said the only change from the budget presented at a public meeting earlier this month was an additional $15,000 that is earmarked for Bogue Chitto Attendance Center’s new band program.

Board President Diane Gill said if more than two members had to recuse themselves because of the relative clause — which would cause a non-quorum of the board — then members would vote on the budget in sections, with the board member recusing themselves before a vote on certain sections.

The 3-0 vote ensures the district will split $24.6 million to get through the 2018-19 school year, which is a spending plan down slightly from last year’s budget.

The budget for FY 2019 calls for $24,642,428 in revenues and puts the district on a plan to being debt free by 2020. The board is projecting almost $29.2 million in expenditures, but most of the $4.5 million overdraw is for budgeted construction projects and the total will be reduced as they are completed and paid for, Stewart said.

The bulk of the county budget — 60 percent — will come from $14,926,401 in state funds provided through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and $5,822,686 will come from local taxes, good for 24 percent. The federal government is chipping in $3,234,076, good for 13 percent, and the district will draw $659,266, or 3 percent, from 16th Section revenue.

The district will spend more than $18 million for teacher salaries and benefits. More than $8.6 million is budgeted for instructional services, a category that contains anything from teaching assistants’ salaries to libraries. The district is planning more than $3.5 million in construction projects — $300,000 is budgeted for new school buses, a new wastewater treatment plant at Enterprise is expected to cost around $200,000 and Stewart said there are “several dozen” smaller renovation projects ongoing in the district.

The small remainder of the money is split between non-instructional services, 16th Section expenses and debt service.

The district has budgeted $367,600 in debt service toward a general obligation bond that, once paid off in 2020, will leave the district debt free. The district owes $1.3 million on the bond.

The projected budget is short of last year’s $25.03 million plan by around $430,000. That amount and more was lost from the county’s MAEP allocations.

There are about 3,100 students in the district.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the school board is July 16 at 5 p.m. at the central office on East Monticello Street.