Shelby County Board of Education approves district budget

The Shelby County Board of Education unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a meeting on Aug. 21. (File)

The Shelby County Board of Education unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a meeting on Aug. 21. (File)

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—The Shelby County Board of Education unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year during a meeting on Aug. 21.

“This has been kind of an unusual year,” Assistant Superintendent of Finance Gary McCombs told board members during the first budget hearing on Aug. 7, citing the separation of Pelham city schools that went into effect July 1 as having an impact on the budget.

The district’s budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes an 11 percent total decrease in general fund revenues throughout the system, with a 16 percent local revenue decrease, which is primarily a result of the separation of Pelham schools, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Gary McCombs told board members during the Aug. 21 meeting.

The budget also reflects a 12 percent total decrease in general fund expenditures, with a 10 percent decrease in instructional, instructional support and auxiliary expenditures as well as a seven percent decrease in operations expenditures.

“We did take a decrease, but that’s understandable,” McCombs said during the meeting.

“We understood at the beginning that this was going to be a complex budget,” Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller said in an interview, noting the district had planned for the changes.

“We made sure we continued to protect our local schools,” Fuller said. “We knew the separations were coming, so we have been working to ensure our funding balance and reserve was there to withstand the separation.”

In order to prepare for the separation, the district was conservative in spending in several areas, looked at expenditures and managed revenue and built up the reserve, Fuller noted.

The budget also reflected the opening of Forest Oaks Elementary in Chelsea and the new 220,000-square-foot Helena High School.

“We are working to continue to look at the decreases and expenditures to ensure a top-notch product for our local schools,” Fuller said.