By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The Pearl River County School District’s budget for the 2013-14 school year is $24.06 million but district taxpayers will be responsible for only $5.6 million, or the same amount of money the district has requested from them for the past two school years.
The school board for the Pearl River County School District discussed the proposed budget at a public hearing at Pearl River Central High School cafeteria Monday night.
The school district is requesting $5,590,311.92 from taxpayers in the Pearl River County School District, the same amount as requested the last two years, said T.J. Burleson, business administrator for Pearl River County school district.
The school district is not responsible for setting the millage. The district requests a dollar amount calculated using the methods allowed by the law. The taxing authority then levies a mileage that will be sufficient to bring in the funds to match the district’s request, Burleson said.
The district received an additional $200,378 from the state through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for the 2013-14 budget to cover the Public Employees’ Retirement System retirement contribution increase. PERS will raise the district’s contribution to the retirement system from 14.26 percent for salaries to 15.75 percent, Burleson said. The amount of funding the district receives from the state through MAEP is based on the average daily student attendance.
The district also will receive an additional $12,617 in Educational Enhancement Funds this year. The funds are used to purchase a new school bus each year to keep the fleet current and $12,313 of the EEF funds will be divided among all the teachers in the district for them to purchase supplies for their classrooms, Burleson said. Last year, each teacher received $245 to supply their classrooms.
In total, the district plans to bring in $19,310,431.17 of revenue and to spend $19,798,257.75 in its general fund budget. An additional amount of $487,826.58 needed to meet expenses will be taken from the fund balance, which contains $6.4 million. After the $487,826.58 is taken from the fund balance, it will contain $5,912,174.42.
The $6.4 million fund balance is comprised of a seven percent reserve of $1.4 million to meet emergencies, a reserve for capital improvements of $4 million and an unreserved fund balance of $1 million.
The budget also proposes adding three administrative positions. The three positions to be added are assistant principal at Pearl River Central Upper Elementary, assistant principal at either Pearl River Central High School or Pearl River Central Middle School and social worker at Pearl River Central Lower Elementary. The positions are to help the district meet new Mississippi Department of Education’s mandated teacher evaluation tool known as M-STAR, Burleson said.
The budget has already been changed to allow funding for the new administrative positions, he said. The funding for the new positions was created by cutting various personnel and supply budgets, said Burleson.
The school board will vote on the budget at the next regular meeting on Monday, July 1 at 6:30 p.m.