Alabaster school fund growing faster than anticipated

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A 1-cent sales tax increase passed by the Alabaster City Council in 2011 currently is generating about 4 percent more revenue than originally projected, the Alabaster School Board’s new chief school financial officer said during a March 11 meeting.

Tapscott

Tapscott

When the City Council approved the 1-cent sales tax increase, it earmarked the proceeds of the increase for a separate school fund, which is accessible only by the Alabaster Board of Education.

In her first financial report to the school board since taking the Alabaster CSFO position on March 1, Sarita Tapscott said the city originally projected the 1-cent increase to generate about $300,000 per month for the school fund.

Tapscott, who was the Hartselle City School System’s CSFO before coming to Alabaster, said current collections are exceeding projections by “about 4.1 percent.” Alabaster School Board member Adam Moseley also said the January 2013 collections topped the January 2012 collections by more than $100,000.

Tapscott said the city has already transferred about $2.5 million of the school fund to the Alabaster School Board, and said the city is preparing to transfer the remainder – about $2.2 million – to the board.

The city’s school fund is projected to reach $6.1 million by June 30 and $7.1 million by Sept. 30, Tapscott said. To date, the School Board has spent about $80,000.

Tapscott said the Alabaster school system will look to use the money to match the services already offered in the city’s schools “with the hopes of improving them.”

“To have that seed money of $6.1 million to start out, that’s a good thing,” said Alabaster Interim School Superintendent Dr. Phillip Hammonds.

Alabaster School Board members previously said they are working to finalize the city’s separation from the Shelby County School Board before the 2013-2014 school year begins.