Hoover BOE passes $168 million budget

Published 9:48 pm Monday, September 14, 2015

The Hoover Board of Education approved the 2016 fiscal year budget during a Sept. 14 meeting. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Hoover Board of Education approved the 2016 fiscal year budget during a Sept. 14 meeting. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—The Hoover City School System will operate under another budget with a deficit for the 2016 fiscal year. The Hoover Board of Education passed 2016 fiscal year budget during a Sept. 14 meeting and voiced a commitment to balancing the budget in the future.

The 2016 fiscal year budget projects roughly $168 million in expenditures and roughly $157 million in revenue, leaving a budget deficit of around $10.4 million, a smaller deficit than last year’s $11 million budget deficit.

“We’re down in all of our revenue sources,” HCS Chief Financial Officer Cathy Antee said during pre-meeting budget hearing, noting a decrease in federal, state and local funding. “Our revenue is down $13 million from what it was in 2008.”

While revenue has decreased, student enrollment has increased, from approximately 12,400 students in 2008 to 13,836 for the 2016 fiscal year.

“Everyone is asked to do a little more for less,” Antee said. “The standards and expectations at our schools have not declined, but our revenue is declining.”

Additionally, recurring expenditures—operating expenditures excluding capital projects—outpace revenue in the 2016 fiscal year budget, Antee said.

“(In 2015 and 2016) the gap is widening between our recurring expenditures and our revenues in the wrong way,” Antee said. “That gives us cause for concern and an area to focus on going forward.”

Before the Hoover School Board approved the budget, board members and HCS Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy voiced strong commitment to researching and developing strategies to balance the system’s next budget.

“Everybody understands we’ve got to get this budget under control,” board member Stephen Presley said. “Everybody’s got to understand something has to change here, and everybody is okay with change until it affects them.”

Murphy said the school system will explore sustainable staffing options and will work to prioritize spending in order to avoid sacrificing educational and extracurricular benefits and opportunities for students.

“I think it’s important that we, as a community, ask what we want our school system to be,” Murphy said. “There are things we do that simply cost money… We don’t want to lose the things that make us uniquely Hoover, and that comes with a cost.”