BoE budget to break $200 million?

Preliminary budget nearly $204 million, $41.7 million more than 4 years ago; includes $10 million more in pay and benefits for FY18

BoE budget to break $200 million?

The Fayette County Board of Education is gearing up to consider the budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Still in the proposal stage, the budget viewed by the school board at the May 22 meeting showed revenues of approximately $203.7 million with identical expenditures.

Two years ago, the school budget was $184 million. That went up to this year’s budget of $192.8 million. The preliminary budget plan for the coming fiscal year represents an increase of $10.9 million over this year, an increase of 5.6 percent. The new budget is $19.7 million than just two years ago, a two-year increase of 10.7 percent.

That compares to a $162 million budget for FY 2014 that included the elimination of 300 positions and the closure of four schools. The new budget, if it remains at $203.7 million, would represent a whopping $41.7 million (25.7 percent) increase in the span of four years.

Chairman Barry Marchman opened the floor to public comments after the brief presentation. There were none. Of the 30 people in the room, nearly all were either affiliated with the school system or were media representatives.

Pertaining to the revenue side of the proposed $203 million budget, $94.1 million comes from local property taxes, $9.5 million comes from other local taxes, $98.7 million from state QBE (quality basic eduction) funds and $400,000 from other state funds.

Expenditures for the proposed budget include $9.7 million in additional expenses over the current year. Those include $3.1 million for cost of living increases, $3.2 million for step increases, $3.1 million for the teacher retirement system and $300,000 for increased health insurance costs for classified employees.

Debt service in the proposed budget, coming almost exclusively from ad valorem taxes, totals $6.4 million.

The proposal calls for continuing the 10 percent reserve fund at $20.3 million and carrying a year-end fund balance of $3.18 million.

The school board in June will expand discussions on the upcoming budget.

Next door in Coweta County, the proposed FY 2018 budget totals $194 million. The school system has five additional schools and approximately 2,400 additional students.