PRC School Board holds budget hearing

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Monday night the Pearl River County School District held a budget hearing.
During the hearing, Business Administrator T.J. Burleson provided the Board with a budget proposal.
The District’s enrollment is the highest it’s been in over a decade, with 3203 students enrolling for the upcoming year, an increase of 135 from 2016. As a result, the District received more state funding to bring the total to a little over $2 million in Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding. The extra funds will support the addition of more teachers to meet the drastic increase in students, Burleson said.
Those additions include:
• Lower Elementary: Two first grade assistant teachers and one special education teacher.
• Upper Elementary: Two regular education teachers and two special education teachers.
• Middle School: Four regular education teachers and two special education teachers.
• High School: Four regular education teachers and two special education teachers
•District-wide: Dyslexia/reading therapist, maintenance director, six maintenance technicians, maintenance department vehicles and tools, Chromebooks and carts for every classroom and two school buses with seat belts.
• Elementary campus: Lead teacher for second and third grades.
Deletions from the budget include two special education assistants at the middle school, one assistant principal on the elementary campus and the adaptive physical education teacher position.
“We are almost at full capacity in classrooms District-wide,” PRC Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said, adding that the District is preparing its facilities for future expansion.
Because the District’s contract with J.I. Luke Enterprises Inc. ends Friday, the District decided to move all maintenance and custodial services in house.
The District’s total budget for 2017-18 is roughly $26.7 million, including $17.5 million (66 percent) in state funding, $2.7 million (10 percent) in federal funding, $66,152 (less than one percent) in 16th section revenue and $6.4 million (24 percent) in local funding, mostly from ad valorem taxes. The Board requested a total ad valorem tax of $5.6 million, an increase of $49,283 from last year.
The District is requesting about 56.3 mills, a drop from last year’s 61.07 mills. Burleson said the District is not responsible for setting actual mills levied. Instead, the District requests a dollar amount, which is then calculated by the tax office.
With a total budget of $26.7 million, Burleson estimates the District’s total expenditures to be $26.6 million in its general fund budget, leaving $50,189 left over. Classroom instruction makes up the majority of the total expenditures at about $13.9 million, or 52 percent. Facilities are the second highest part of expenses, slightly over $2 million, or eight percent. Next is instructional support, $1.8 million (seven percent); school administration, $1.8 million (seven percent); transportation, $1.7 million (six percent); food service, $1.5 million (six percent); technology, $1.1 million (four percent); executive administration, $831,246 (three percent); debt payments, $728,316 (three percent); athletics and activities, $566,470 (two percent); business office, $332,759 (one percent); school security, $221,704 (one percent); and sixteenth section, $34,100 (less than one percent).
To prepare for U.S. President Donald Trump’s potential cut in Title I funding, a reduction in federal funding of approximately $300,000, Burleson said the District has already formulated a plan to absorb all teachers and staff in other areas of the budget, if necessary. The District has an estimated beginning fund balance of $4.1 million, and a 20 percent reserve as part of Board policy, the District is left with an unreserved fund balance of $200,000 to prepare for any emergencies that might come up throughout the upcoming year, Burleson said.

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