Movement on new THS, school renovations likely coming in October

The Alabaster City School System approved its 2015 budget during a Sept. 11 meeting. (File)

The Alabaster City School System approved its 2015 budget during a Sept. 11 meeting. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers admitted it was much easier to budget for the upcoming fiscal year than it was during the city school system’s first year of existence.

“I think we are very accurate. It’s based on last year’s actuals,” Vickers said during a Sept. 11 ACS budget hearing. “I feel much more confident this year with our budget with a year under our belt.”

ACS finalized its split from the Shelby County School System in July 2013. For the school system’s 2014 fiscal year, which will end on Sept. 30, budgeting was based on calculations and projections.

ACS School Financial Officer Linda Agee said the 2015 fiscal year budget, which was approved Sept. 11 and will be in effect from Oct. 1-Sept. 30, 2015, contains “conservative” revenue projections based on last year’s numbers.

“It’s pretty flat,” Agee said of the revenues as she reviewed the budget with Alabaster School Board members on Sept. 11.

The 2015 fiscal year budget calls for about $62.1 million in revenues compared with last year’s $61.4 million.

During a Sept. 11 meeting, the School Board also approved the issuance of a pair of bonds totaling about $115 million to fund the construction of a new high school off Thompson Road, to pay off debt owed to the Shelby County School System and to make extensive renovations to the city’s existing schools. Movement on the new high school and school renovations – particularly technology renovations – likely will come in October, Vickers said.

Without the capital projects and debt repayments funded by the bonds, expenditures are about $500,000 lower than projected revenues, Agee said.

53.8 percent of the school system’s projected revenues will come from the state, about 40 percent will come from local sources and 6.2 percent will come from federal sources.

Aside from the bond-funded new high school, school renovations and debt payments, about 75 percent of the school system’s expenses will come from funding employee salaries and benefits for the about 718 ACS employees.

“One of the first things I try to look for is ‘Are my revenues higher than my expenses,’” Vickers said. “If we do not have a deficit budget, that is a good sign for a second-year school system.”