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Board of Education hears first budget presentation

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Board of Education received an overview of the budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year on Aug. 18.

Since the BOE has not hired a new chief finance officer yet, it contracted with Danny Higdon from the state department to prepare the budget proposal.

The proposal was compiled from requests received from the various departments.

Funding for the school system’s budget comes from federal, state and local sources.

The state funding is largely based on Average Daily Membership of students from the previous school year. For the fiscal year 2021, funding will be based on an ADM of 7,534.25. this means that the number of teachers the state will fund has gone down slightly from 438.48 to 434.72. However, Higdon said this would cover all of the teachers, so there will be no teacher positions funded through local revenue. This has been a point of discussion in previous years because some positions were having to be paid with local revenue.

For the current fiscal year, Chilton County Schools received more local revenue than had been projected.

The majority of the funding comes from the state including $46.5 million in foundation funds and an additional $7.2 million. Local funding accounts for $9.2 million of the 2021 fiscal year budget.

The majority of the school system’s budget goes to pay for expenses related to instruction. Instruction makes up 54.14% of the 2021 fiscal year budget.  Salaries account for $26.7 million of the budget.

Increases will be seen for transportation operations and nurses. The budget for the capital purchases, at-risk and Career Tech O and M line items have also been increased compared to last year.

Some of the increased cost for nurses will be paid for by CARES Act funds to contract with three nurses for just this year.

Purchasing 21 busses was included in the proposal. Higdon said the school system needs to replace 21 busses. These are projected to be done through a $300,000 down payment and financing $1.4 million.

Board member Pam Price asked about the school system’s debt.

“This school system has done a great job of not really being in debt,” Higdon said.

The school systems debt is nearly $1.9 million paying of Series Warrants from construction and paying for busses.

The proposed budget also sees and increase in the school system has in the unreserved fund balance, which is often a goal.

Several lines items are budgeted to be less than last year.

A second presentation of the proposed budget is scheduled for Sept. 15.