PCS proposes $45 million budget

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield presented a $45.7 million proposed budget with a projected surplus of $800,000 on Aug. 15 during the school board’s first budget hearing for fiscal year 2017, which begins Oct. 1.

Pelham City Schools proposes a budget with a surplus of $800,000. (File)

Pelham City Schools proposes a budget with a surplus of $800,000. (File)

Coefield said the system’s proposed budget is higher than usual because it includes an estimated $10 million bond needed to complete construction projects.

He said the system’s debt payment, which is expected to be $4.2 million for FY 2017, will increase in FY 2018 to about $4.6 million, absorbing some of the surplus funds.

“We’re right on target with our finances,” Coefield said. “I think we’ve tried to build a little bit of a cushion so that we have a safety net just in case something unforeseen happens.”

As recommended by the Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama schools should have at least one month of operating expenses in reserves at all times – that amount for Pelham is $2.5 million.

Coefield said PCS is expected to end FY 2016 with $6 million, which equals to about two and a half months of operating expenses.

At some point, Coefield said he and the school board might consider staffing changes or restructuring the system’s salary schedule.

“We’ve experienced rapid growth so we have to look at how much growth we’ve had and evaluate how that impacts staffing and our facilities,” Coefield said.

Enrollment on the first day of school was 3,109, but that’s not the number that matters the most. The system’s average daily membership, which is the average daily enrollment counted for 20 days following Labor Day, will determine the number of state funded teacher units the system will receive the following school year.

Pelham’s average daily membership for the 2015-16 school year was 3,033, which means that 191 of 215.5 teachers units for the 2016-17 school year are funded by that state.

Coefield said 24.5 teacher units were covered by other funds. Nineteen were covered by local funds allocated to PCS from the city of Pelham, Shelby County and district and county ad valorem taxes, 4.5 were covered by funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and one teacher unit was covered by Title 1 funds, which is allocated to school systems based on the number of students receiving free or reduced lunch.

Pelham City Schools will have its second budget hearing on at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 in the auditorium at Pelham High School.