Fayette BoE is millions short of balancing its budget


Despite savings from fewer people being hired, the Fayette County School System still is several million dollars short of a balanced budget for the school year that begins in July. The projected fund balance for June 30 is now anticipated to be $13 million, but even that figure will not forestall the need to cut millions in expenditures prior to the adoption of the FY 2012-2013 budget next June.

Still, the system has more unspent money than it expected, based on projections last summer.

Comptroller Laura Brock at the Dec. 12 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education said the projected fund balance for the end of the school year on June 30, 2012 now sits at $13 million.

The projected fund balance at the beginning of the current school year for the one-year period was $8.6 million, approximately $4.4 million below the $13 million figure provided Monday night.

The difference, Brock said, comes in the personnel area that, year-to-date, is $4.2 million under the budgeted amount. The reason is that there are currently a lot of vacancies in the school system, Brock said.

Personnel may be coming in under budget these days but so are local tax revenues. Property tax collections are $1.668 million under budget while auto taxes are $295,904 over budget. All local tax revenues combined, the year-to-date figure is approximately $1.1 million under projections at the end of November.

The school system’s budget for the current year is lopsided to the tune of more than $16 million, with revenues budgeted at $170.2 million and expenditures at $186.6 million.

The school board in June was able to balance the budget by using approximately $16 million from the school system’s June 30 fund balance that totaled $25 million. That left the school system with a projected fund balance next July 1 of $8.6 million.

The school board Monday night approved a new school calendar based on 177 school days along with cuts for all staff in the number of days worked next school year. The total savings will be approximately $3.3 million.

Meantime, Superintendent Jeff Bearden has stated on several occasions that it will take approximately $10 million in total cuts to be able to adopt a balanced budget in June for the next school year. Those cuts, Bearden said, are expected to come through personnel attrition and will be presented to the school board in the opening months of 2012.