Fayette system may hire 31 more teachers, 19 special ed parapros


Schools’ budget may go up 4%

The time for the adoption of the FY 2016 budget by the Fayette County Board of Education is three months away. The first look at what could be a $177 million budget was viewed by the school board on Monday.

Essentially for information purposes, the first-look showed a general fund budget of $177.1 million budget. That compares to the current budget of approximately $170.4 million.

As is customary, school system finance staff will continue to work the numbers and will report back to the school board on subsequent occasions between now and mid-June. The budget adoption by the board usually comes in late June.

Assistant Superintendent Tom Gray said revenues are expected to total $174.7 million. Included in the figures is an expected fund balance of more than $7 million for FY 2016.

Expenditures are forecast at $177 million. The $2.4 million difference in expenditures and revenues would come from the total projected June 30 fund balance for FY 2015 of $9.7 million, leaving approximately $7.2 in available fund balance for the period that ends on June 30, 2016.

Gray cited the expectation that the school system will receive approximately $5.8 million in additional funds from the state over the current year and an additional $4.1 million in property taxes, based on an anticipated 2 percent increase in the tax digest.

Superintendent Jody Barrow during the discussion noted that a portion of the funding for next year will depend on the outcome of the state budget.

“All this (preliminary data) is soft until the legislature finishes the session and the governor approves the budget,” Barrow said. “So some things are subject to change.”

Beyond the fund balance, the school board is expected to continue to hold an additional 10 percent, roughly $17 million, in reserve.

The preliminary budget includes 25 additional teachers, 19 special education parapros, six special education teachers and a small number of other staff positions.

The board in the coming weeks will consider adding 30 first grade parapros and a handful of other positions.

The preliminary numbers also include the transfer of $1.5 million from the general fund to the capital projects fund. Those funds could be used for future needs such as additional classrooms or buildings if or when the school system experiences a sustained increase in student enrollment.

Fayette schools have seen a continued decrease in student enrollment over much of the past decade, with and enrollment high of 22,367 in the 2006-2007 school year. That compares to just over 20,000 students today.