Schools face yet another lean year

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There may be even leaner and meaner days ahead for public education in Alabama, but it could be worse for Butler County.

Marvin Taylor of the Alabama State Department of Education, who was on hand for the district’s budget hearings last week, praised the Butler County School System for “trying to live within their means” in difficult economic times.

“I can’t say that about all the state’s school systems. Some are already going belly up and borrowing money to meet payroll,” Taylor said.

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“I’ve seen two systems taken over by the state because they just didn’t heed our warnings several years ago. I do see this system as trying to be good stewards of their monies.”

In the budget summary, total revenues, including additional state and federal allocations pending, are $30,105, 666.83 with nearly $6 million each in local and in federal funding, with the remaining $18-plus million coming from the state.

Total projected expenses, reflecting current allocations, are $30,496,875.67.

The local General Fund, which had a beginning fund balance of $1,383,457.25 as of October 1, 2009,will have a projected ending balance FY10

Board member Joe Lisenby complimented new Chief Financial Officer Brandi Burleson for a job well done in presenting and explaining the proposed budget during the evening budget hearing.

The district will have to tighten belts further with the additional two percent proration declared by Governor Riley on Thursday, with the knowledge certain funding available for 2011 will no longer be in place in 2012, including the Federal Jobs Bill Fund, said Burleson.

With tax collections running 9 percent lower overall in the state, Taylor said it could be a very tough time ahead for education “if we don’t get some relief in this economy.”

Board member Joe Lisenby complimented new Chief Financial Officer Burleson for a job well done in presenting and explaining the proposed budget during the evening budget hearing.

To simplify money matters, the Butler County School System will now have a consolidated bank account rather than separate General Fund and Federal Fund bank accounts.

Burleson requested permission to consolidate the two at Thursday night’s meeting, saying a single account left “less room for mistakes.”

“I have talked with the State Department, and it is not a requirement to maintain two separate accounts,” Burleson said. “The more you move the money, the more room there is for errors.”

When asked by board member Linda Hamilton what disadvantages Burleson could see in going to a single account, Burleson replied, “There are none that I can see.”

In other BOE actions, the board:
– Approved the request for renewal of Alabama Risk Management for Schools Liability/Errors and Omissions Liability Fund Participation at an annual cost of $6,599.

– Granted permission to advertise for bids for diesel fuel and gasoline

– Approved rewarding bid for serving lines for the GMS Child Nutrition Program to Moore-Warren Equipment for the low bid of $48,152.

– Approved price quote for special needs bus of $83,973.14 from Southland International

– Approved the contract for new GMS principal Curtis Black

– Approved management agreement with Healthy Kids, Inc.8

– Approved board policy advisory committee, sick leave committee, grievance committee and mathematics textbook committee for 2010-2011

– Approved the following personnel changes: resignation of Evonnie Sanders, bus driver, effective September 17, 2010; employment, Rickie Sallie Jr., Math teacher, Georgiana School, and leave of absence, Julie Autrey, CNP, Greenville High School (Family Medical Leave, 12 weeks).