Schools looking for final boost from sales taxes, car tags

Shelby County Schools are looking for a needed boost in sales tax and car tags to help make the fiscal year 2003 budget.

Also, according to assistant superintendent of finance Jim Davis, the system is looking to a critical vote on Sept. 9 with regard to the fate of the fiscal year 2004 budget.

Davis gave the report to the Shelby County Board of Education last week.

According to Davis, revenues for the fiscal year 2003 budget are coming in at 5.19 percent as opposed to the 5.97 percent which had been projected.

If the additional money does not arrive, the carryover in the budget for 2004 will go down by the shortfall amount, and he said a shortfall of about 1 percent equals about $500,000 in funds.

Davis went on to report on the FY 2004 budget during the first of two budget public hearings set for August.

The next will be held on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. in the central office.

According to Davis, as

the budget stands thus far, revenues are projected to be $175.5 million for FY 2004.

Of that amount, 43.4 percent is locally funded, 50.6 percent is state funded, 5.9 percent is federally funded and .1 percent comes from other sources.

Davis reported expenditures for FY 2004 are projected to be $185.2 million.

He said of that amount, 64.07 percent will be spent on instructional services, (49.93 on instruction and 14.14 on instructional support).

The remainder of the expenditures, he said, includes 8.28 percent debt service; 4.07 capital outlay which is decreasing as currently funded projects come to a close; 1.71 percent administrative costs; 11.53 percent auxiliary services such as transportation and child nutrition; 7.55 percent maintenance; and 2.8 percent other activities such as summer school.

Davis said the state has indicated that 70 teachers which were originally not funded in the 2004 budget will be funded after all.

However, he said, the school system had already added 68 teacher units to deal with growth.

That means while the state has calculated 1,249.44 teacher units, the school system has hired 1,515.56 teacher units leaving a total of 266.12 teacher units to be locally funded, he said.

If the state does not fund the 70 additional units, however, that will raise the locally funded number of teachers to 336, he said.

It will leave the school system with a balanced budget with a carryover of about $1.5 million or just enough money to operate the school system for a total of two days, Davis said.

He said the 2004 budget for Shelby County Schools is due in Montgomery by Oct. 15.

As it stands, the budget includes 2,500 pages, weighs 35 pounds and includes some 40,000 separate accounts.

&uot;The September vote (governor’s tax and accountability package) is critical to this budget,&uot; Davis said.

He went on to explain,

&uot;The reason it is going to be critical is growth in Shelby County is not going to stop.&uot;

He said if the school system wants to continue to offer the advanced courses now offered, &uot;it will be difficult without additional funding from the state.&uot;