TCS reviews 2015 budget

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

For the first time in several years, Troy City Schools is projecting a surplus in revenues over expenses for the fiscal year end 2015 budget.

The draft of the budget was presented to school board members during a called meeting on Monday. Outlined by CFO Mickey Daughtry, the budget calls for $19.6 million in expenditures and $19.7 million in revenues, leaving a slight surplus and an estimated 1.3 months operating costs in reserves at Sept. 30, 2015.

“That’s the first time in several years we’ve projected revenues to exceed expenses,” Daughtry said after the meeting. “We got there by reducing our locally funded units, and squeezing our local budget dollars.”

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The budget is based on an average daily attendance of 2,015 students (down from 2,040 in FYE2014), but Daughtry stressed the actual enrollment figures will likely change as the district is in the middle of its state-mandated 20-day measuring period for enrollment.

The budget includes 243 full-time employees, with 143 of those teachers; 10 principals and vice principals; eight librarians and counselors; and 82 support staff. Of the faculty and administration, 71 percent hold a master’s degree or higher. “That’s a very telling and impressive statement in terms of the quality of teachers we have in our schools,” said board member Mark Salmon.

At $14.5 million, more than 76 percent of the of anticipated expenditures are for personnel costs. “This falls in line with the state and national averages, which are 75 to 80 percent for personnel,” Daughtry said. Personnel costs in for FYE2014 were $15.06 million, or 77 percent of budgeted expenses. Of those personnel costs 11.1 are funded by local units compared to nearly 15 local units in FYE14.

Debt service remains steady at $1.3 million year-over-year. “We refinanced a portion fo the bond debt this past year and that saved us about $300,000 this year,” Daughtry said.

Debt service is expected to remain steady until 2017, “when we have to start paying back the principal on the capital improvement funds we borrowed,” Daughtry said, referring to nearly $15 million in capital improvement funding which was used for several projects, including a new middle school and renovations on both the elementary and high school campuses Those projects were completed in FYE2014, and the board will pay interest on the notes until 2017, which principal payments begin. “That will add about $350,000 per year in debt service expenses.”

The TCS anticipates spending $8,450.58 per pupil in FYE2015. Daughtry said in 2013, the Troy Schools spend $8,842 per pupil, ranking 54th of 134 systems in the state and exceeding the state average of $8,692 per pupil.

The budget will be adopted at the Sept. 15 meeting.

As for revenue, the TCS anticipates 54 percent to come from state funding; 11 percent from federal funding, such as Title 1 and Title II programs; and 34 percent from local funding, such as sales and ad valorem taxes.

Daughtry said the budget includes a 3 percent increase in anticipated sales tax revenues, to $2.89 million, which reflects the trend he has seen in the current fiscal year. Ad valorem tax proceeds are not expected to increase. One percent of revenues come from ancillary sources, such as child nutrition program rebates and the state’s mileage charge program.

In other business, the board approved several personnel actions, including the retirement of Patricia Rodgers, Charles Henderson High School business education teacher; the resignation of Gwyn Huggins, CHHS science teacher; the resignation of Julius Terrell Charles Henderson Middle School ISS aide; the resignation of Michelle Phillips, CHMS special education aide; and the transfer of Mary Boutwell from Troy Elementary child nutrition program to CHHS child nutrition program.