Schools facing budget shortfall

Published 3:50 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Butler County school leaders are projecting a budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

According to the proposed budget for FY 2016, which was presented at a budget hearing Thursday night, the Butler County School System’s total expenditures of just more than $32 million exceeds the system’s total revenue of $31.6 million.

Of the total revenue, approximately $18 million (55.6 percent) is composed of state funding, while federal and local funding each contribute nearly $6.5 and $6.9 million, respectively.

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“State revenues are up and that is due to our Office of School Readiness grant increasing, and transportation has increased.

“Local revenues are up. We have budgeted for an increase in ad valorem and sales tax, and that is due to the growth in the economy,” said Brandi Mosley, chief financial officer for the school system.

The transportation budget will be higher this year because of an increase the legislature has given to that fund source. The transportation allocation is approximately $1.4 million. The fleet renewal allocation is $236,148, which is budgeted in the Capital Projects Fund and will be used to purchase one new school bus and also pay the annual bus debt service payment.

Instructional services/support accounted for more than half of all expenditures (63 percent), followed by auxiliary services and debt services with 13 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

Mosley said the school system anticipates local tax revenue of just more than $5.1 million. During the FY 2015, the school system received $4.87 million in local tax revenue.

As of now, there is not a balanced budget for 2016.

The deficit of the general fund comes in at a little over $50,000 and the overall budget deficit around $45,000. This deficit does not include raises for different categories. With these costs added in, the total could become close to $130,000.

“I would like a balanced budget, but it all depends. When I do the amendment, and if all that passes, we’re going to be looking at a $130,000 deficit. We won’t know until our financial time comes around next year if we’re going to have a balanced budget or not,” said Mosley.

The next budget hearing will be held on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. at the Butler County Board of Education boardroom.