TCS with 7.3 months of operating expenses in reserve

Published 8:01 pm Thursday, July 22, 2010

While some school systems across Alabama find themselves in a state of financial disarray and are scrambling to borrow money, that is not the case here in Troy.

Troy City Schools currently holds 7.3 months worth of operating expenses in its reserve, well over the one month required by the state of Alabama.

Linda Felton-Smith, TCS superintendent, said the local sales tax revenues have been a big financial help.

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“That fact that we do have sales tax revenues from two different funds, coupled with us being very careful with how we spend our federal money has helped us tremendously,” Felton-Smith said.

TCS’ reserve has been dipped into some over the last couple of years due to proration, but that came after a six-year period of continuous growth.

“When you look at the end of our fiscal years, on September 30, 2003, we had a balance of a little over $5 million,” Felton-Smith said.

“On September 30, 2009, we had about $9.8 million.”

TCS did dip into its reserve for $542,000 in fiscal year 2009 and $900,000 in fiscal year 2010, but the reserve has remained in good position.

The strong reserve has given TCS the flexibility to make capital improvements in a time when other school systems are unable to.

A multi-handicapped classroom is being built at Charles Henderson High School, with the roughly $447,000 necessary to fund the construction coming from the reserve fund.

TCS is also on the verge of opening its new central office, but that project was funded by strictly capital improvement funds, rather than the reserve.

Felton-Smith also said she was hopeful the reserve would go untouched in fiscal year 2011.

“We are working on our budget for fiscal year 2011, and we are hoping to not have to dip into our reserve for general expenditures,” Felton-Smith said.

While TCS may be in better financial shape than other school systems in the state, the system has had to cut back due to tough economic times as well.

“We still have been impacted because we do not have funding from the state, so any positions we have been able to eliminate have been eliminated,” Felton-Smith said.

“But, at the same time we have continued to provide instructional supplies for our teachers in order to help our students achieve their educational goals.”

However, with slight signs of an economic rebound, Felton-Smith said TCS could increase its spending in the coming months.

“We will be very conscientious when it comes to spending, and once the economy hopefully starts to turn around, we’ll be able to be a little more free with spending,” Felton-Smith said.

“Our first priority is to make sure our students have quality educational opportunities, and as the economy turns around, we will do many things to make sure they continue to have those opportunities.”