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Hartselle Enquirer

BOE budget shows $7.3M in reserve

A 2012-13 budget that reflects a $7.3 million surplus was approved by the Morgan County Board of Education at a special called meeting on Sept. 21.

At the same time a year ago the reserve stood at approximately 3.8 million, or $1.2 million less than the state minimum requirement.

Several factors entered into the recovery of the reserve fund, which dropped to a low of about $500,000 three years ago, according to Chief Financial Officer John Godwin.

The school system received $990,000 from the refinancing of a 2003 bond issue earlier this year, in addition to savings realized from a system-wide reduction in operational costs, the closure of Ryan School and staff cuts.

“Things are looking fair,” Godwin reported. “While federal and state revenues are down somewhat, local revenues are up 4 to 5 percent. “We just need to be cautious and aware that a burden is being placed on our local revenues.”

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams that we would be where we are today with our reserve fund.” said Superintendent Bill Hopkins.” We saved money by trimming staff and our children are still receiving a great education.”

“But,” he added, “We don’t want to lull ourselves asleep and let that happen again. We let 70-plus people go and I don’t want to see that happen again.”

Hopkins expressed thanks to Godwin and his staff for doing a good job of preparing the new budget.

The budget shows anticipated state revenues at $39.6 million, federal revenues at $6.4 million and local revenues at $28 million for a total of $74.4 million. Anticipated expenditures are listed at $100.9 million, of which $30.5 million is borrowed money earmarked for the new Priceville High School and other capital projects.

Program allocations show a decline of $274,512 from year to year. For example, Children First is losing $64,255, Title I, $63,652; and transportation operations, $93,945. Career Tech O&M is receiving $62,560.

The new budget takes effect Oct. 1, 2012.