$12.5M Opp budget includes supplies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opp City Schools is expected to begin the 2010-11 fiscal year with a $12.5 million budget, school officials said Tuesday at the first of two budget hearings.

Like all Alabama school systems, OCS is coming off of a budget year that had 7.5 percent proration. The new budget could possibly be prorated as much as 3 to 5 percent, or $200,000 to $350,000, OCS chief financial officer Linda Banks said.

OCS is projecting revenues of $7.4 million in state funding (60 percent); $2.15 million in federal allocations (17 percent); $2.9 from local funding (23 percent), and $28,500 from other funds such as child nutrition.

The system’s ex-pected ex-pe-di-tures are less than reve- nues, with a difference of $45,000.

Overall, school system officials are pleased with the 2011 budget, but are concerned about the 2012 budget when there will be no stimulus money or jobs bill money.

“We believe 2012 will be the worst year,” Banks said. “I really hope to see a recovery at the state level.”

Banks said that since proration began three years ago, the system has seen $1.2 million in cuts.

OCS Superintendent Michael Smithart said although the budget is conservative, that the system was able to provide each teacher $200 in classroom support money at the local level.

“We aren’t going to go lacking, although it may not be ideal,” he said.

Banks said the system is working diligently to “maximize what we have.”

Assistant Superintendent Emily Edgar said she is proud the system has been able to maintain what it has and what it can provide students.

Smithart said OCS adopted a five-year plan, five years ago, and the system is right where it was expected to be.

“Moving into 2012, we will be right where we thought,” he said.

The system has 2.5 months operating reserves left, which is something the majority of Alabama systems do not have, Smithart said.

“I’d say three years of proration and our reserves are still what they are, that’s commendable,” he said.

Smithart said one way the system has been able to keep these levels is cutting out locally funded teaching units.

“While they provide our students with extras, in times like these we cannot afford to pay them and maintain our levels,” he said.

Smithart said everyone in the system must have the same goals in times of hard-hitting proration.

“We’ve been very proactive in our planning,” Edgar said.