Schools have $18.4 million cushion, but more state cuts ahead


Financial reports from the Fayette County School System show the system currently on track to end the fiscal year on June 30 with an estimated $18.4 million surplus. And as she has done on a number of past occasions, one Fayette school teacher asked that some of the surplus be used to address previous staff pays cuts.

Comptroller Laura Brock told Board of Education members last week the projected surplus for FY 2011 that ends June 30 next year is currently estimated to be $1.16 million. Combined with an estimated year end balance of $17.25 million for the past year, the total surplus for next June 30 is approximately $18.4 million, she said.

To date, said Brock, the school system is $1.89 million under budget for the first three months of the fiscal year.

Brock also noted that the 2011 budget included the use of approximately $5 million from the previous fund balance. And there is a $4.263 million sum from the federal jobs bill that will serve as unbudgeted revenue for the school system, she added.

Brock during the presentation added that she still anticipates a cut in state funding of 2-4 percent in December or January.

Brock at the meeting also gave a report on recent 1-cent sales tax collections. The school system since the local 1-cent tax began in spring 2009 has collected more than $21 million. The school system collected $1.516 million in July, $1.522 million in August and $1.567 million in September, Brock said.

Disbursements through June totaled approximately $7 million, with another $2.67 million in purchases made since the beginning of the school year.

The sales tax has a ceiling of $115 million, with revenues going to purchase computers, technology-related to the 21st Century Classroom initiative, textbook purchases and paying on the school system’s debt service.

Also at the meeting, during public comments the only speaker was Fayette County High School teacher and Fayette Association of Educators representative Dana Camp who again reminded the school board that pay reductions to staff in 2009 were said at the time to be needed to balance the budget.

“With a projected $18 million (General Fund) surplus when, will the board make a commitment to restore the pay scale?” Camp asked.

Camp also asked that financial and other information pertaining to board meetings be posted on the school system’s website in a timely manner, at least a few hours prior to the meeting.

The board in January voted 3-2 to change the meeting days from Monday to Tuesday to give those interested two full work days (Mondays and Tuesdays) to view the documents online prior to the meetings. Yet on many occasions that has not occurred, with postings coming sometimes later in the day on Mondays and at other times during the day on Tuesdays. The late postings essentially negate the stated purpose for moving the meeting days to Tuesdays.