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BOE hopes to maintain workforce

Chilton County Board of Eduation Chief Financial Officer Steve Yeargan is hopeful for the upcoming fiscal year. He hopes for the school system to maintain its current workforce without any layoffs by avoiding the crippling costs of proration in 2010-11.

He said the board’s reserve fund will be very minimal by the end of the year. Its next major task will be to increase the mandatory reserve back to the $4 million mark, that is, if the economy manages to improve.

Yeargan projects a year-end balance of approximately $2.46 million whereas the board is required to have a one-month operating balance of $4 million.

“We’re short $1.57 million, so you can see this is not where we need to be,” he said, citing proration as the source for the shortcomings.

The board had to absorb a $3 million cut in its existing fund balance reserve.

“That’s why cutting back and being conservative on expenses such as maintenance and utilities helped to soften the blow of 7.5 percent state proration,” Yeargan said.

The board spent $5 million more on construction this year due to the completion of the new intermediate school in Jemison. Yeargan emphasized that project was the bond issue released by Gov. Bob Riley that could only be used for capital outlay. As for other operations, the board tried to maintain the status quo.

Yeargan said the board will continue to cut down on maintenance materials and supplies and conserve energy where they can while remaining as efficient as possible.

The board uses Public School and College Authority funds for its construction projects. PSCA funds can only be used for that purpose, Yeargan said. The board works up a five-year priority plan and tries to stick with that.

“It doesn’t leave you with a lot of funds to do a lot of building projects, so we try to be efficient with those,” he said. “The thing I regret is that there is just not enough to do all major projects needed.

Yeargan has been pleased with operations and personnel throughout the year.

“I am appreciative to all of our employees for the efforts they make trying to help us during these lean times to cut back and conserve and be as efficient and productive as possible,” he said.