ACS 2019 budget sees jump in federal, local funds

Published 9:42 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City School System likely will see a major drop in its capital project expenses for the 2019 fiscal year, as it turns its attention from constructing a new high school to renovating the city’s existing school buildings, according to the system’s proposed budget.

Board of Education members reviewed the proposed budget during a special-called Aug. 29 meeting, and heard highlights of the upcoming fiscal year from ACS Chief School Financial Officer Linda Agee.

The Aug. 29 meeting was the first reading of the proposed budget, and the second reading will come at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, before the School Board likely votes on the matter during a meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The school system’s 2019 fiscal year will run from Oct. 1 of this year until Sept. 30, 2019.

As proposed, the ACS budget includes about $70 million in revenues, which is up about 4.5 percent from last year.

The majority of the increased revenues came from federal sources, which rose 12 percent over last year’s numbers. Agee said federal funds can only be used in certain areas, as the funds are earmarked for specific purposes.

Local revenues, which includes Alabaster sales tax generated to support the city’s school system, are up 6.6 percent over last year.

“You’ll notice that 40.2 percent of our revenues are from local funds, which is very nice and puts us in good company,” said ACS Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. “It shows the community is supportive of its school system.”

The 2019 budget includes about $73.8 million in expenditures, but as with past years, the numbers are skewed by the about $4.2 million in capital expenditures the system is using to renovate its existing schools in preparation for a shift in the summer of 2019. Once the renovations are completed, the current Thompson Intermediate School will move into the current Thompson Middle School, and TMS will move into the former Thompson High School building.

ACS’s capital expenditures are being funded by $120 in bonds the school system issued in 2014.

The majority of the expenses outlined in the 2019 budget were in the instructional services category, which will be about $35 million and account for about 51 percent of the non-capital expenditures for the year.

“We want all of our money to be in instructional services, because that’s money in the classroom,” Agee said.

ACS has reduced its number of locally funded teacher units over the past few years as well, which Agee said is beneficial for the system. The 2019 budget includes 20.5 locally funded units, which was down from 39.1 in 2016.

“We are trying to be good stewards of the school system’s money and reduce local units whenever we can,” she said.

About 69.6 percent of the school system’s teachers have advanced degrees, according to the budget.

“I appreciate Mrs. Agee’s efforts on the budget,” Vickers said. “She takes time to make sure everyone is taken care of and that our system is taken care of.”