Fayette BOE tentatively approves $178.9 million budget


The Fayette County Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday night voted unanimously to give tentative approval to the $178.9 General Fund budget for FY 2011 that begins July 1.

The board also voted to restore the pay for the equivalent of up to three furlough days imposed on most school system staff during the first half of FY 2010.

The tentative adoption of the $178,806,358 General Fund budget includes the use of $5.09 million in fund balance dollars that will be carried over from FY 2010 since the school system expects to see $173,715,915 in revenues for the period.

The school system began the 2009-2010 school year with a budget of $185.5 million. But a series of cost saving measures such as the imposition of a 4.5 percent system-wide pay cut and three furlough days charged to most employees will result in expenditures of approximately $179.8 million.

Comptroller Laura Brock told board members that the school system expects to end the fiscal year June 30 with a fund balance of approximately $17,878,000, with $5.09 million of that amount going to offset decreased revenues.

Pertaining to those revenues, Brock anticipated seeing $88,985,737 in local ad valorem and other tax revenues along with $81,607,414 in state funding. Both local property tax revenues and state revenues have taken a nosedive due to the recession.

The school board will consider final adoption of the FY 2011 at the June 29 meeting.

The topic of the FY 2011 budget may be all but settled, but that does not mean the school system is out of the financial woods. Superintendent John DeCotis advised board member that there is talk at the state of a 4 percent cut in funding that could come later this summer.

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously approved restoring the equivalent of up to three furlough days imposed during the past school year. The number of days to be paid will depend on the number of days taken, since most, but not all, system staff took three furlough days.

The furloughs came as the state reckoned with diminished revenues and passed that downturn on to school systems across the state. Payment for the furlough days will be effective by the end of June.

The board also voted 4-1 to review sometime this fall the potential for giving back a percentage of the 4.5 percent pay cut. The percentage, the methodology to accomplish it and the effective date will be determined at that time. Board member Lee Wright voted in opposition.