Poplarville school officials expect addition state revenue cuts

Published 2:16 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poplarville school financial director Samantha Sandifer told the school board on Monday night that the school system’s finances are stable but indications from Jackson are that the system will receive additional cuts in state funding, along with other schools throughout the state, in the wake of weak tax collections at the state level.

The state in early September announced cuts statewide, and the Poplarville system absorbed a $487,796 cut for this year as Gov. Haley Barbour moved to reduce spending by 5 percent in across-the-board state budget cuts.

Other local schools absorbing cuts were Picayune at $767,222 and Pearl River Central $660,745.

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Sandifer said she had received information from Jackson telling school officials to prepare for additional cuts. Sandifer told the board that the state is now requiring school system’s to send a monthly cash flow report to Jackson.

Supt. Carl Merritt told the board, “We are following this matter very closely. Each time there is a meeting in Jackson, someone from here will be there. We are making ourselves aware of where we are, so that as soon as we find out which way this is going to go, we can make the necessary adjustments.”

Merritt said there are no plans for any cut in personnel but that overtime and extra expenses would be watched very closely.

The superintendent stressed the system was stable and solid financially, but school officials are concerned over budget cuts that have already occurred and potential cuts looming in the future.

In other matters the board:

— Heard a report from architect Gary Bailey on a $3 million construction upgrade throughout the school buildings financed with federal stimulus monies.

— Heard a report from Glenda Malley on school accountability results.

— Took no action on a request from Chris Breland, a representative of the Pete Jackson Diamond Club, Inc., for batting cages for the boys and girls baseball programs.

— Took under advisement two bids for hunting and fishing leases on 16th section 16-2-14 one for $8,500 from Terry Joe Beal and David Sims and another from Double 16 Hunting Club on the same piece of land for $2,965. Double 16 holds the current lease on the property and under state law must be offered a chance to match the highest bid before the lease is placed. The lease totaled 592 acres.

— Approved the claim docket, payroll, financial statement, activity fund receipts and minutes of the Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 board meetings.

— Adjourned to Nov. 9.