Demopolis Schools hold hearings on budget

Published 11:12 am Monday, September 14, 2015

Demopolis City Schools is proposing a $19 million budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. Officials with system hosted two public hearings Tuesday to present the proposed budget and allow the community an opportunity to respond.
Demopolis Schools Chief Financial Officer Evelyn James presented the budget saying it was the culmination of efforts by many within the school system.
“The budget requires a lot of input from a lot of different people … a lot of work goes into it. Of course, our main goal is to ensure our budget reflects our goals in education our children,” James said.
The proposed budget reflects revenues of $19 million with expenditures over $21 million. The system currently has $3.6 million in reserves. The projected balance at the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year is projected to be $1.1 million.
During her presentation, James presented revenues from the school system’s four sources. State revenues are projected at $12.39 million; federal revenues total $1.78 million; local revenue sources should account $4.1 million; and other sources will account for about $780,000.
Under expenditures, instructional expenses are estimated at $11.7 million; instructional support is $2.9 million; operation and maintenance is $1.7 million; auxiliary services is budgeted at $1.7 million; general administrative expenses are $1.2 million; capital outlay is $300,000; debt services will be $883,000; and other expenditures are set at $539,000.
Following the two public hearings held Tuesday, the system will hold a special called board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 9 a.m., when members of the board will consider approving the budget.
One question that was posed to school officials was whether they were prepared for a proposal by Governor Robert Bentley to move $250 million from the state’s education trust fund to the general fund.
“If that were to happen, our fund balance of $1.1 million would go away,” James said.
The governor’s proposal would have to be passed by the state legislature where it likely does not have the support to pass.
“Demopolis has worked so hard to have resources and it is sad that politicians are trying to take away from kids to solve adults’ problems,” said Demopolis Superintendent Kyle Kalhoff.
If cuts are needed, James and Kalhoff said the top goal would be to protect instruction.
“Maintenance projects at the schools may not happen until the following year and some of the things we want to do might not get done. Our technology plans at our elementary schools may be put on hold,” Kalhoff said.
The state budget is set to be finalized by Oct. 1 while the school system must submit its budget by Oct. 15.

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