Alabaster school fund on track to top $7 million
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
A school fund fed by a 1-cent sales tax increase passed by the Alabaster City Council in 2011 likely will top $7 million by the end of September, according to Alabaster City Schools officials.
During a June 6 Alabaster Board of Education meeting, Chief School Financial Officer Sarita Tapscott detailed the upstart school district’s first three-month budget, and said the fund is on track to exceed its projections.
Alabaster will finalize its split from the Shelby County School System on June 30, and will operate under the three-month budget before its first fiscal year budget goes into effect in October.
“(The school fund) will reach $7 million at the end of September. I do anticipate it to be closer to $7.1 (million),” Tapscott told the school board members.
The three-month budget also projected significantly more revenues than expenses, according to Tapscott. The budget outlined $10.5 million in revenues and $6.9 million in expenses.
“We came out pretty good in the wash,” Tapscott said of the difference between the expenses and revenues. “We were thinking it would be closer to (a) $3 million (surplus).”
Tapscott said the Shelby County Board of Education provided about $2.8 million to cover payroll for current teachers in Alabaster for the month of September.
Alabaster School Board member Linda Church requested Tapscott ask if any textbook money is owed Alabaster City Schools by the Shelby County School System.
“Something Saraland had an issue with (when they broke from Mobile County) was they didn’t have any money for textbooks,” Church said.
Church said the Alabama Department of Education typically provides money to local and county school districts in October to help cover the cost of textbooks. Many local and county school districts do not spend the money until the summer after receiving it, Church said.
“By rights, they should purchase those books for us,” Church said. “I feel sure we’ve got the money to cover it, but if that’s our money, we want it. If you’ve got to pay $60 per book, that’s a lot of money.”