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Brookhaven School District Board of Trustees addresses grants, ’20-’21 budget

The Brookhaven School District Board of Trustees conducted a series of meetings Tuesday that focused primarily on funding for the upcoming school year.

The board conducted two specially called meetings — one for the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget and another for a grant — prior to its regularly scheduled meeting.

The district’s director of finance Cheryl Shelby presented the budget during a public hearing.

With the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, state funding is unknown. Because of that, Shelby said creating the budget was a challenge, but was created based on past years’ budgets.

“This is the most uncertain budget I’ve ever had to come up with,” Shelby said.

“We tried to take a conservative approach,” Shelby said.

The total budgeted revenue for the upcoming school year is more than $23 million. Total budgeted expenditures surpass that by $1 million.

“I project seeing hard decisions for the board for the 2021-2022 school year if the economy doesn’t change,” Shelby said.

The district may only receive 90% of what they got for the 2019-2020 school year.

On a brighter note, the district received funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The nearly $900,000 grant can go toward enhancing distance learning.

A meeting was held immediately after the public hearing regarding the budget to address administration of the Urban Grant. The Urban Grant was started by the Urban family to help district teachers advance their education and training.

A memorandum of agreement was approved to entrust the accounting firm of Lowery, Payne and Leggett with administration of that account. Additional signatories were also approved for the account.

The regularly scheduled board meeting was held after the Urban Grant meeting.

Closing out the 2019-2020 fiscal year, all was well for the district’s finances.

“Our bank accounts are reconciled,” Shelby said. “We have no cash flow issues.”

A board policy on additional reading requirements concerning the Accelerated Reader program for students kindergarten through sixth grade was voted on to be removed.

In other business, the board approved the following:

• The consent agenda, presented by outgoing Superintendent Ray Carlock.

• Other board policy updates presented by incoming Superintendent Rod Henderson.

• The financials, including reports, claims docket, fixed assets and miscellaneous financials presented by finance director Cheryl Shelby.


Story by Gracie Byrne