Pike County Schools review budget for FY2016

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In drafting a budget for FY16, the Pike County Schools officials leveled funding expectations due to the potential impact of loss sales tax revenues from Walmart.

“I think it was smart to level the funding,” said Pike County Schools superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell. “If something happened and that extended into the holiday season, it could have a significant impact.”

The Troy Walmart location and several outparcel retail stores were significantly damaged by a tornado in early August. The Walmart store was close for nearly two weeks and has only partially reopened. Nearby Hibbetts Sporting Goods was gutted and must be rebuilt in its entirety. Both are significant contributors to the sales tax base that helps fund the school district.

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Jennifer Hornsby, chief school financial officer for Pike County Schools, explained that the district will not be able to quantify how the closure will impact revenues until the end of the month.

“We won’t know our sales tax impact until this month’s revenue comes in,” Hornsby said. “We will see how it starts trending … after Christmas, we will see how we are doing at the first quarter.”

Bazzell presented a draft of the FY2016 budget to the school board Tuesday. The budgeted revenue is $22.955 million, with 60 percent coming from the state, 15 percent from federal, 25 percent from local and less than 1 percent from other revenues.

Bazzell explained that most of the funding will be used for instructional services and instructional support, spending more than $14 million in that area.

There was a $100,000 difference in expenditures; however, that is was not a surprise.

“They have been pretty consistent year to year,” Bazzell said. “No surprises there.”

Revenue projects are also leveling with FY2015, projecting $1.7 million in surplus for the general fund.

“Last year we projected at $1.5 million and came out with $1.7 million,” Bazzell said. “It looks like at the end of September this year we are going to be right on target with $1.69 million. Instead of starting where we think we will be, we are starting at $1.6 million.”

Pike County Schools has increased its number of employees from 295 last year to 302. “We have been adding to the music department, agriculture and our academies,” Bazzell said.

Bazzell explained that although the number of employees has gone up, the leveled budget will not be affected.

“As long as we can afford it, we will do it,” Bazzell said. “We are going to tighten the belt in the maintenance supplies. We are going to take a close look at everything we are buying. We are going to go back to what we did in 2008 when we were trying to make sure we cleaned everything up. We need to do that to hit our target. If we do that and get any kind of growth next year, we will be in good shape.”

A second and final budget hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m. The budget will be placed before the board for approval at the board meeting on Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

“I feel like we will be where we need to be at the end of 2016,” Bazzell said.