County BOE unveils $29M budget

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Covington County Board of Education unveiled its $29 million budget for the 2011 fiscal year Tuesday at the first of two budget hearings.

“Although we have been faced with two years of proration and possibly additional funding shortages in the near future, we feel that this budget continues to provide for an efficient and sound instructional system,” said Shauna Robertson, the system’s chief financial officer.

Of the $29 million in revenues, 58 percent are from the state; 21 percent from federal funds for programs such as Title I, special education and child nutrition; and the remaining 21 percent is from local tax revenues and other sources, she said.

Robertson and school board members said the “balanced budget” is attributed to many factors.

“Primarily because we were able to reduce staff through attrition, where we had a decrease of only three teachers, the ability to flex capital purchase funds and additional revenue from the federal jobs bill, state stabilization funds and (stimulus) funds,” she said.

The federal jobs bill accounts for an additional $464,000 for the county school system.

Robertson said the required 10 mill of local ad valorem tax has increased by approximately $171,000 from the prior year, for a total local contribution of $2.6 million to the state’s foundation program.

Included in the budget is nearly $14 million in salaries and benefits, as well as $2.3 million for classroom instructional support and $48,600 for new textbooks.

“Fortunately, with the use of stimulus funds, our schools continue to have funds for instruction materials and supplies, technology, library and professional development,” she said. “Next year, all purchases will be made with the consideration of future year’s need.”

A recent bond issue has provided funds for building renovations in 2010 and others are planned for 2011, she said.

“Because of the board’s foresight and being good stewards of the school’s funds, we will be able to maintain a high quality educational program,” she said.

It is expected that proration will increase by an additional 5 to 7 percent for the 2012 budget, making it imperative school systems use their money wisely, Terry Holley, Covington County Schools superintendent, said previously.

The second budget hearing is set for Sept. 7.