Poplarville School District makes $20M budget proposal

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Poplarville School Board held a special meeting Monday night to review the District’s proposed $20.8 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Poplarville Assistant Superintendent Konya Miller attended the meeting in Superintendent Carl Merritt’s absence.

Board members Lisa Graves and Shirline Magee were also absent during the presentation.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Poplarville School District Finance Director Samantha Sandifer said she estimates the total expenditure for the 2018 year to be about $20.8 million, an increase from the estimated 2017 expenditure of about $18.9 million.

Sandifer said that although she expects state funding to decrease by about $369,000 and federal funding to decrease by about 15 percent in 2018, a $2.6 million cafeteria renovation project accounts for the majority of the increased budget.

Yet, Sandifer said the District is “not spending any money we don’t have” to complete the renovations, since the District would not incur debt from the project.

Barring the cafeteria expenses, Sandifer said the District’s budget would actually decrease due to forced cuts from state and federal programs.

Yet, according to the proposal, there would still be an estimated $300,000 deficiency in the budget.

Until revenues begin to increase or stabilize, Sandifer said some funds would be transferred from 16th section land accounts to make up for the difference.

Local revenues, stemming from ad valorem taxes, are estimated to be about $5.7 million, up from about $5.6 million. However, Sandifer said those calculations are not exact and could vary depending on the assessments made by the Pearl River County Tax Assessor’s office and any new value added to a property.

The proposal estimated about 31 percent of the budget will stem from local sources, up from 29 percent in 2017. Each year, about 1 to 2 percent of the total revenue is generated from 16th section sources.

The District’s millage is currently set at 55 mills, in addition to a three-mill bond that was passed several years ago to renovate classrooms at the middle school and the cafeterias at both elementary schools.

Sandifer said she estimates the District has about six or seven more years to pay off the 13-year three-mill bond.

She also said the District’s millage was lowered from 57 mills to 55 in 2016 and does not expect it to increase this year.

In an effort to scale back some areas of the budget, a few instructional positions have been cut through attrition, while the District has upgraded the positive behavior specialist and dyslexia teacher positions from part-time to full-time. A special education teaching position has also been filled that was vacant from last year, Sandifer said.

A special education literacy coach is also being partially funded through a grant, she said.

New Chromebooks will also be purchased, although not as many as the District hoped for due to budget constraints, Miller said.

The Chrombooks are distributed on a classroom basis, not to each student, she said.

Other budget areas, such as professional development supplies, bus services, operations and maintenance, transport and 16th section have proposed decreases. The general administration budget, which covers the Board, attorneys, superintendent’s office, increased by about $100,000. Sandifer said that was largely due to attorney fees.

The budget will be approved or amended during the Board meeting July 17.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

email author More by Julia