PRC school board begins discussions to write its budget

Published 7:03 pm Friday, April 27, 2007

A bare quorum of the school board of the Pearl River County School District last night began considering the district’s budget for the 2007-2008 school year.

Superintendent Dennis Penton was joined by board members Margie Creel, Billy Spence and Sherwin Taylor for the beginning of discussions on the various issues the school board will have to consider as it writes the budget.

“We don’t have all the figures from this year yet since this year isn’t closed out. It is based on crude numbers,” Penton said. “This phase is extremely fluid and is a working document until it is approved by (the board).”

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The two main areas where there is the most change is in classrooms and payroll. An increase in utility costs also was mentioned.

“We’re most likely going to have to consider portables, which cost between $60,000 and $65,000 each. The estimate is roughly three to five portables based on the number of students for each class,” Penton said. He emphasized that it is still too early to tell exactly how many new students will be registering for the new school year.

The other change is payroll and that is because of the three percent pay increase paid for by the state. This will be carried across the board from cafeteria workers to clerical to administration. Any increase in personnel will be determined by the number of students, for which there isn’t an estimate yet.

“This will keep us out of difficulty,” said Megan St. Clair, school district bookkeeper, “we won’t be hurt (financially), when or if the minimum wage is raised.”

St. Clair also said actual figures for the budget will be discussed in the public meeting at 6:30 Thursday, June 28, when she will answer any questions anyone might have concerning the budget.