TCS budget looks sound

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Despite challenges in funding throughout the year, Troy City Schools has developed a proposed budget that will not take any hits in the classroom.

School officials met Wednesday to discuss the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and even after 11 percent proration, the next budget will be balanced without having to dip into the school’s savings account.

“Considering proration being called at 9 percent and then an additional 2 percent for 2009 and the possibility of 6 percent for 2010, I feel like we have done the best job that can be done,” said Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith.

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As proposed, the budget will have equal revenues and expenses of about $21.4 million each.

While this budget does not draw anything from the system’s savings account, it will come with about 7 percent cuts in state funds.

“We changed a fund source for a number of teachers to go into stimulus funds…that’s how we were able to balance that,” Felton-Smith said. “We are providing funds for classroom supplies so this budget does not remove any of the essentials needed for effective classroom instruction.”

Felton-Smith said the state funding cuts came because of a decrease in teachers, and the funds under classroom instructional support were all cut.

The school system will begin the year with about 4 fewer teachers than in the last year. Many of those that do remain are no longer locally funded, as the school system worked to shift locally funded teacher positions to use state and federal dollars.

There are 12.48 locally funded units, with 267.5 total employees in the proposed budget.

What the proposed budget can not account for is the approximate $660,000 the system could lose if Gov. Bob Riley has to call for 6 percent proration within the next year.

“We can not base our budget on the 6 percent proration,” Felton-Smith said.

“What this budget does is allows us some flexibility if the governor calls for 6 percent proration.”

Even with flexibility though, the school system will look at taking another hit in its savings’ account to compensate for the losses.

The next budget hearing will be held Monday at 4 p.m., prior to the Board of Education meeting at 5:15 p.m. Felton-Smith said she anticipates the budget will be passed at that meeting.