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School system shows tentative budget
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- Salaries & Benefits: $116,838,634
- Utilities & Fuel: $5,095,540
- Repairs & Maintenance: $4,655,915
- Instructional Textbooks & Supplies: $2,661,246
- Equipment & Furniture: $845,488
- All Other (professional learning, insurance, professional services, Challenge Charter Academy, Ombudsman, fees, etc): $5,252,420

Despite an unexpected increase in revenues for the 2011-12 school year, the school system's budget remains precarious, especially for the 2013-14 school year.

The projected resources for the 2012-13 general fund budget are $145,412,382 with expenditures projected at $135,349,243 leaving an ending fund balance of just over $10 million at the end of next school year. And while that may sound like a lot of money, it costs more than half a million dollars to operate the school system for just one day.

Quality Basic Education funds, which are earned by the system from the state have dropped drastically since 2006, with the estimated reductions for the FY13 at approximately $13.6 million and a combined loss of about $57.3 million in the last seven years. Property tax revenues are budgeted at 10 percent less in for FY12-13 which amounts to over $4 million less.

With a projected minimum enrollment of 17,051 students (minus the projected 570 in Pre-K since that is funded by lottery monies), the hourly cost per student in Newton County is $5.57. Of that, money from local property taxes pays just $1.50.Based on the state average, the county pays a total of $790 less then the state average per student.

According to information released by the system, there is also an expected increase in textbook costs and more than $1 million increase in health insurance costs.

With no projected increases in revenue the 2013-14 school year is looking bleak, something Superintendent Gary Mathews has been open about throughout the year.

"We would need to cut $1,662,518 from the 2013-2014 budget to maintain a minimal fund balance of $4,461,465 (3.26 percent of the total budget). Various experts throughout the state have recommended that we maintain a fund balance of at least 7 percent of budget which would amount to $9,595,575. We would have to cut a total of $4,796,228 to meet this recommendation."

With an ending fund balance next year of the projected $10,063,139 minus expenditures of $137 million and revenues of $129.8 million, the ending fund balance is just a little over $2.7 million for the 13-14 school year.