Pearl River Central hears proposed budget for coming year

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Correction: The proposed ad valorem request will roughly stay the same compared to the previous fiscal year, not increase by $1.4 million.

Before Pearl River County School District’s first board meeting of the summer was held, Business Administrator T.J. Burleson discussed the 2017-18 fiscal year budget. Burleson’s presentation disclosed what the Board should expect when the official budget hearing takes place June 26.
Next year, the ad valorem request will total roughly $5.6 million, comprised of $5.3 operations and $380,000 in general obligation bonds, which is right around last year’s ad valorem request.
A couple of additions and deletions have been made to the budget, Burleson said, to prepare the budget for cuts that might appear in the upcoming school year.
Additions include two first grade assistant teachers and one special education teacher at the lower elementary school and two regular education teachers and two special education teachers at the upper elementary school. At the middle school, four regular education teachers and two special education teaching positions will be added and four regular education teachers and two special education teachers will also be added to the high school staff in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
District-wide, Burleson said a dyslexia therapist will be added.
Because J.I. Enterprise is retiring, the District will switch to employing in-house maintenance staff, which Burleson said he will elaborate on during the official budget proposal.
Deletions from the previous budget include two special education assistants at the middle school, one assistant principal on the McNeill campus and an adaptive physical education teacher.
Along with the deletions, cuts were also planned, including some that have been announced by the President of the United States of America.
“Trump is cutting our title funding. We were told that title one is being cut by $160,000 and they are trying to eliminate title two altogether, which equals an additional cut of about $130,000. That together is just about $300,000 and is something we have to keep an eye on as we prepare for the upcoming year,” Burleson said.
With all of the additions, deletions and cuts accounted for, Burleson said the District will still have a balanced budget for the fiscal year of 2017-18.
“We are very comfortable with this budget,” he said.
Throughout the previous year, PRC Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said the District had about $150,000 in cuts, which they had to absorb.
“Even if we had cuts similar to what we had seen last year, we still feel comfortable that we would not have to come to [the Board] to amend the budget this year,” Lumpkin said.
“We are preparing for the future,” Burleson said.
The official budget hearing and proposal will be held June 26 at 5 p.m. and is currently set to be heard in the regular board meeting room.
More on Monday’s School Board meeting will be featured in Wednesday’s edition of the Item.

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