Alabaster Schools set to have several million in reserve

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Alabaster School System will have about $2.2 million in reserves when it passes its first 12-month budget. (File)

The Alabaster School System will have several million dollars in reserves when it passes its first 12-month budget. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When the Alabaster School System ends its first three months of operation on Sept. 30, the school system likely will have about $2.2 million to carry into the next fiscal year, the city’s school superintendent said.

During its Sept. 9 meeting, the Alabaster Board of Education reviewed the system’s three month budget, under which Alabaster City Schools has operated since its formation in July.

“It looks very promising for the 2013-2014 school year,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said during a Sept. 10 interview. “We will have $2.2 million in the bank at the end of September that we can carry over into next year. At the end of the 2014 fiscal year (in September 2014), we will have about $8.79 million in the bank.”

Alabama law requires school boards to keep at least one month’s worth of operating expenses in reserve at all times to cover emergency situations. The $8.79 million surplus will be equivalent to about 1.9 months of operation, Vickers said.

The Alabaster School Board is in the process of constructing the school system’s inaugural 12-month budget, and likely will approve the document during a special-called meeting at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. The School Board is scheduled to have a hearing on the budget during a work session at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Much of the school system’s reserves are fueled by a 1-cent sales tax increase passed by the Alabaster City Council in 2011. Proceeds from the 1-cent sales tax increase feed a city education fund, which can be accessed only by the Alabaster School Board.

Once the 12-month budget is approved, it will include funding for the city school system’s full staffing level. The school system is in the process of hiring a transportation supervisor, and has added several new teacher units since July, Vickers said.