Poplarville School Board of Trustees approve budget

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Poplarville School Board of Trustees approved the 2019-2020 school district budget at last week’s meeting.

Of the total $18.7 million in revenue, $6.2 million is expected to come from local revenue, $10 million will come from the state and $2.2 million is expected to come from federal sources. Local sources consist primarily of ad valorem taxes, donations, contributions and interest income, said the district’s Chief Financial Officer Samantha Sandifer.

Sixteenth Section sources will provide $152,827, which includes revenue from timber sales, hunting and fishing leases and interest income, Sandifer said. In the previous year, 16th Section lands did not bring in as much revenue, because there were no timber sales last year. This year, the District expects to cut timber again, Sandifer said.

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District expenses total $18.9 million, of which $10.7 million will fund instruction. Instruction includes paying teachers and teacher assistants, as well as all of their associated supplies, Sandifer said.

Of the total expenses, $7 million will go toward support services. Support services is a broad category, which includes staff that work with students like attendance clerks, social workers, guidance counselors, nurses, speech pathologists, librarians, and all of their associated supplies. The category also includes general administration, such as paying school Board members, the superintendent, secretaries, school administrators, principals and bookkeepers, Sandifer said. The category also includes the business office, which deals with financial services, operation and maintenance and transportation, Sandifer said. Support services also include professional development, Sandifer said.

Also of the total expenses, $1 million will be used for non-instructional services. The majority of non-instructional services are food services, the parenting center and the activity fund, Sandifer said. The activity fund is money students fundraise at a school level, and that money is spent at the school level, Sandifer said.

Another $40,923 will fund 16th Section needs, which include improving 16th Section lands and forestry management, Sandifer said.

Facilities acquisition and construction is budgeted to require $25,000. The District only has renovations this year, with no acquisition and little construction, Sandifer said. In previous years, the cost of facilities acquisition and construction has been higher, Sandifer said.

The District does have debt in a qualified school construction bond for $3 million that was issued in 2010 to renovate cafeterias and add classrooms, Sandifer said. The $3 million is due in 2022. The debt is not included under debt services in the school budget, because the District does not make annual payments, Sandifer said. The District pays zero percent interest on the debt.

The District also transfers money in and out of different funds to ensure programs are fully funded, Sandifer said. Many programs are funded with grants and sometimes those grants do not fully fund the program, so the District takes excess funds from a different program to cover the difference, Sandifer said. These funds are categorized as other financing sources and their expense is labeled as other financing uses, Sandifer said. About $2.1 million will be moved between different programs for this reason. Spending from the other financing sources will leave a $2,950 deficit that will be covered with the fund balance.

The total shortfall in revenue of $233,904 will also be covered with the fund balance. The budget has had shortfalls for a few years, because enrollment has gone down, which lowers revenue, Sandifer said. The District made cuts every year to accommodate the decrease in enrollment, but expenditures are still exceeding revenues, Sandifer said. There are some one-time expenditures, which the District would not take on if it did not have a fund balance, Sandifer said.

The current fund balance is $11.5 million and is projected to fall to $11.3 million at the end of the fiscal year in 2020.