Balancing growth with fiscal concerns

Published 8:32 pm Friday, September 14, 2012

Troy City Schools Board of Education members may have to test the “escape clause” they passed when members voted to allow administrators to tap into reserves to fund operating expenses.

At the time, Dr. Judson Edwards pushed for a measure that would require the district to maintain a minimum of three months’ operating expenses in reserves at all times. Dipping below that point would require a vote of the board, according to the resolution.

With the FY13 budget projecting $5.3 million more in expenses than projected revenues, the district will be forced to utilize both its capital bond funds for renovations and some of those set-aside reserve funds. Projections estimate that without any significant change to increase revenues, the district will end FY13 with only three months in reserves.

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What that means for TCS and its future remains to be seen. The district is in the midst of a growth and renewal phase, including much-needed and long-overdue capital improvement projects at its facilities; investments in classroom and district-wide technology; and expansion to include programs such as the Pre-K classes. Leaders believe the improvements will ultimately lead to district growth, which in turn increases state and local funding.

Balancing the needed growth with fiscal concerns is a tightrope dance under the best conditions.