Stephens Co. BOE Reviews Tentative FY 2014 Budget

The Stephens County Board of Education receives a tentative Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget.

School staff presented a tentative $31.9 million budget to the Board Thursday at a work session for review.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said that the tentative budget assumes that there will not be any furlough days instituted in the upcoming fiscal year.

“Our teachers have worked so hard and one thing we wanted to do is not take any days from them and I think we have accomplished that with no furlough days,” said Whiten.

In addition, the tentative budget does not project any change in the millage rate.

The Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget of $31.9 million is slightly smaller than the current Fiscal Year budget of $32.1 million.

Whiten said the school system projected a drop in local property tax revenue due to a 3 percent decrease in the tax digest, as well as a 10 percent drop in federal funding.

She said most of the savings in the budget are coming by not filling a number of positions that are coming open through retirement or people leaving and then moving people around to fill where there are needs.

Whiten said that overall, she is pleased with how the budget process has gone so far.

“We had a pretty clear picture of what we had,” said Whiten. “This is the first time in quite a while that our budget is not balanced by dipping into the fund balance, so we feel really good about that.”

She also said despite leaving positions unfilled, class sizes are in good shape.

“Our class sizes are up a little, but not a lot,” said Whiten. “We are still not even to the state maximum even before flexibility is granted so we are still doing pretty good.”

Whiten said the school system is re-filling some positions, including a Young Farmer teacher position at the high school. That position is coming open and representatives from the farming community spoke Thursday asking the Board not to eliminate that position. Whiten said the state picks up a majority of the cost of that position and the school system would move forward with filling that vacancy.

The Board of Education must still advertise the proposed budget and approve it officially. That will happen next month.