$17 million surplus projected for this year’s Fayette school budget


Now halfway through the budget year, the Fayette County School System’s general fund budget is still well in the black and finance staff are projecting a June 30 surplus of more than $17 million.

But there are several unknown aspects of next year’s budget that hinge of the tax digest and the Georgia General Assembly.

School system Audits and Financial Reporting Coordinator Tom Gray told Board of Education members last week that, as of the end of January, the school system is $687,290 under budget for a general fund budget that totals $178.8 million. He told board members that, as of January, the school system’s general fund budget is projected to show a surplus of $205,532 on June 30.

The general fund in July 2010, the first month of the new school year, carried over a fund balance of $17,288 million. The projected fund balance for June 30 is $17.494 million, Gray said.

Budgeted for $10 million in salaries per month, the school system has come in below that figure for the first six months at $68,602,502, with salaries ranging from $9.73-9.94 million each month since July.

Benefits are budgeted at $3.46 million per month. Those expenses for the first six months of the year total $24,067,263. To date, the monthly breakdown shows actual expenditures ranging generally from $3.37-3.472 million, though there was a high of $3.71 million in January.

And with the operations portion of the general fund budget, those expenditures are budgeted in most months at $1.65 million. Expenditures thus far are ranging from a low of $745,097 in December to a high of $1.867 million in August.

The school board will likely begin initial discussions pertaining to the FY 2011-2012 budget sometime in March. And those discussions will begin by taking into account the continuing economic realities brought on by the recession.

The Fayette County Commission was told last week to expect a 6-10 percent decrease in the upcoming tax digest. If that projection is realized it will come on the heels of an eight percent decrease in the county’s value last year. That drop was a stark departure from the many years of steady growth seen in Fayette County.

Also currently unknown is what will happen with funding by the Georgia General Assembly, especially in light of the federal stimulus dollars that have been exhausted.