PRC School District’s proposed budget could dig deep into savings

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

The budget for the Pearl River County School District was described by business administrator T.J. Burleson as, “Bare bones,” making additions to it very complicated.

With 27 students per class and the necessity of paying for the facilities, Burleson said there are fewer options to allow the district to save money. In February of 2014, the Board performed an energy saving upgrade that automated electricity use in facilities to be turned off after-hours. Burleson said the change saves the district $68,000 per year.

The total local revenue estimated for the upcoming fiscal year is $6.4 million. State funding will be $15.8 million, which is approximately 60 percent of the total revenue, and $2.9 million will be coming from federal funding, said Burleson. The districts 16th section leases will bring in $64,652, which is made up of the residential leases of around 40 to 60 homes countywide and from selling timber, Burleson said. The district earned over $100,000 from cutting timber last year, something Burleson said they do not do every year. This sets the overall total revenue at $25,260,850 with no funding from intermediate or any other venues.

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Instruction expenditures are approximately $13.8 million, which goes toward teachers and classroom supplies. Support services, which includes administration, library services, counselors, facility maintenance, curriculum and technology, is approximately $9.7 million of the total expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year. Non-instructional expenses are budgeted to be around $1.5 million and the 16th section expenditures is budgeted at $67,146, which they share a portion with Picayune and Poplarville School Districts based on student counts that live in that area. Debt services, involving the bonds and three mill payments, is $803,500 with interest expected to be $88,062.

The Board expects to spend more money than they will receive, tallying the total expenditures at $26,058,677, which includes $200,000 for new computers. Since Burleson is unsure if the Board will approve upgrades to district computers, he has only projected to dip into the funds balance for $85,000, Burleson said. If the Board wants to approve upgrading the computers for $200,000, then they will use more of the fund balance, Burleson said. Also, if the Board chooses to approve the Community Eligibility Program for the upper elementary and the alternative schools, this would cost $50,000, that would come from the fund balance as well. The district’s estimated beginning fund balance is $4.4 million and with the state policy of reserving 20 percent to set aside, or $3.9 million, the district’s unreserved fund balance equates to $500,000 they can use this fiscal year if necessary. Burleson will present the Board with a couple of options at the next meeting to determine what action they feel is necessary.

With the cuts of MAEP funding, Burleson said budgeting becomes more difficult.

Approval of the budget will be discussed in the next meeting on July 7.