TCS finalizes budget

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Troy City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the FYE15 budget on Monday, projecting a surplus for the first time in several years.

“We have a balanced budget, and it took a lot of effort,” said Dr. Lee Hicks, superintendent. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but every dollar we have spent in the system has been toward our kids. That’s who we do this for … our primary stakeholders are the kids.”

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 on Sept. 30, 2015. “If all goes as plans, we will have a surplus for the coming year … it will be a small surplus, but it will be a surplus,” said Mickey Daughtry, CFO for the system.

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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. At $14.5 million, more than 76 percent of the of anticipated expenditures are for personnel costs. 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 will be $1.3 million and is expected to remain steady until 2017, when the system begins to repay the principal on the $15 million in capital improvement bonds which was used for several projects, including a new middle school and renovations on both the elementary and high school campuses.

The TCS anticipates spending $8,450.58 per pupil in FYE2015.

Jason Thomas, the only board member to ask questions about the budget during the second hearing on Monday, asked for clarification about the attendance numbers used in calculating the budget. Each year, school systems keep attendance for the 20 days following labor day. The daily average of that is used by the state of Alabama to determine funding levels for the next fiscal year.

The 2015 budget is based on the September 2013 average daily attendance of 2040. The 2014 budget was driven off the September 2012 average daily attendance of 2099. Daughtry said the attendance on Sept. 2 of this year was 2019, although both Daughtry and Hicks said that number likely will change before the end of the 20-day count.

“We should be at least where we were last year (with attendance),” Hicks said. “Our average class size is 145 to 160 students, with the exception of two classes.”

In other business, the board members received copies of the proposed contracts for campus principals as well as the reviews for each principal conducted through LEAD Alabama, the state department of education’s on-line evaluation portal.

Principals at all three campuses: Teresa Simms at Troy Elementary, Aaron Brown at Charles Henderson Middle School, and Dr. Boyd English at Charles Henderson High School – are in the process of contract review, since their current contracts expire at the end of this school year, Hicks said.

He has proposed to renew each principal with a three-year contract, including the 2 percent raise issued across the board to district employees last year. The contracts will automatically renew for one year on Jan. 1, 2015, unless they have been renewed or the principals have been notified of the intent not to renew.

The board also approved the hire of John Onadeko as science teacher at Charles Henderson High School.