An unexpected jump in projected revenue has the Newton County School System in a more positive place fiscally for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. However, the projected increase will still give the NCSS only three more days of operating expenses.
According to an email sent by Superintendent Gary Mathews and discussions from the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, the state Quality Basic Education projected revenue has become available, giving school officials a better idea of what they can expect from the state.
The QBE also gives systems and idea of increased tax collections, projected by the Newton County Tax Assessors Office.
With the increase in funds, that would give the NCSS a projected fund balance of $1,881,986 for the 2014-15 school year.
The amount represents about 3.19 days of operating expense, a positive number compared to the March 20 negative $2.8 projection for the school system’s 2014-15 school year budget.
"Realistically, that’s only three days of operating expenses, hardly something to dance on the ceiling about, but it certainly is better than a negative $2.8 million," Mathews said at the meeting. "That said, there are some ifs in this budget long-term that if they don’t play out to the positive side, it could be a negative on the budget."
NCSS business manager Peggy Bullard informed the BOE on Tuesday that changes in state funding are still possible going forward, and are likely.
However, those changes may not necessarily support the current level of funding for NCSS, which could still lead to a shortage of funds.
"We will stay vigilant with respect to the budget going forward as it deserves close ongoing monitoring," Mathews said in an email.
The Newton County Board of Education will still need to cut roughly $2.5 million from the 2014-15 budget to maintain a minimal fund balance of approximately $4.4 million (3.2 percent of the total budget).
This is less than various experts recommend, which states a school system should maintain a balance of at least 7 percent of the budget. To do that, the BOE would have to cut more than $8 million.
The BOE approved to hold a called meeting to discuss next school year’s budget Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.
The tentative budget is scheduled to be adopted on May 21.
The BOE may hold work sessions again to discuss the tentative budget if necessary. The final budget should be up for adoption at the BOE’s June 25 meeting.
Click on the PDF to see the full budget projections.
The News reporter Amber Pittman contributed to this report.