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Newton schools expect $1.5M extra for budget

COVINGTON -- Taxes are coming into the Newton County School System better than expected this school year, which could help increase the general fund budget by $1.5 million.

NCSS Business Manager Peggy Bullard reported to the Newton County Board of Education Tuesday during its monthly work session that she is expecting the system to collect about $1.5 million more than estimated in ad valorem and other tax revenues.

System officials expected to receive $40,737,025 in ad valorem taxes and other taxes this school year, which began July 1 and ends June 30.

However, according to the general fund financial statement for the month ending March 31 with 75 percent of the school year complete, NCSS already has received $41,104,717, or 100.90 percent of the estimated budgeted amount. The category includes ad valorem automobile taxes, timber taxes when timber is cut and transfer taxes when real estate is sold.

Bullard said NCSS will continue to collect vehicle taxes for the rest of the year and could expect to receive about $1.5 million over budget if collections keep pace with what has been received so far.

"We have 'budgeted down' in that we only budgeted for 95 percent collections," Bullard said Wednesday. "We did have some bad collection years recently."

Some of the increase this year may be due to collections for prior years, she said.

Any extra revenues received will be added to the general fund budget, she said.

The system had planned to hold $7.5 million in reserves from its $138 million budget, which is just over 5 percent of the budget and less than the 7 percent recommended by the state. The school board made more than $8 million in cuts for this school year.

During Tuesday's work session, NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews reiterated a point he had made in January -- "the administration doesn't envision any substantial budget reductions" for the 2012-13 school year. However, in February, the school board approved a calendar with six furlough days for teachers next school year.

Bullard said "everything is coming together" with planning for next school year's budget, but her office still is waiting to hear more about state revenues.

"That is one big piece we're missing," she said.

She said NCSS could lose some state funding next school year because of decreased enrollment.

In March, NCSS saw an enrollment of 267 fewer students than March 2011; student enrollment is currently calculated at 18,991 students. Enrollment is down from 19,066 students reported in February, according to enrollment reports.

Central office administrators said they don't know why they are losing so many students on a monthly and yearly basis.

Even with the added revenues from the taxes, Mathews said the school board could be forced to make cuts for the 2013-14 school year.

"We don't know if that's the case, but that's likely the case," he said.

School board member Almond Turner suggested the board meet for a special work session to proactively plan some possible cuts. Mathews agreed but suggested the board wait a couple of months until the administration has more figures.

"I'd like to get a better, real sense on how the numbers are going to play out," he said, adding that he'd hate to remove a program that could impact student learning and look back, realizing the program didn't have to be cut after all.

For the rest of the month, system officials still are compiling a preliminary budget, according to the budget schedule.

During Tuesday's monthly meeting, Mathews plans to present the school board with preliminary budget data.

On May 8, the superintendent plans to present a tentative budget to the school board. From May 9 through 14 and again from May 23 through June 12, the school board may hold work sessions on the tentative budget.

On May 15, the school board plans to adopt a tentative budget, but the budget can change until the board is scheduled to adopt a final budget on June 19.

From June 26 through July 17, the school board may hold public hearings related to the millage rate for next year. The board plans to adopt a millage rate on July 17.

Meetings are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the board room at the Newton County BOE building at 2109 Newton Drive NE in Covington.

Comments

Grandcanyon 2 years ago

WOW more money for trips to DC

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man1930 2 years ago

It jus seems that SMALL MNDED people will always want to keep Newton COunty a small minded place. It jus seems that we embrace the GOOD OLE BOY system...we only complain when our person is is no longer in the system. Parent involvement /support of academics is the answer to academic failings. Check out parent involvement in AYP schools that fail! !

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Megirl 2 years ago

Really Man well have you not noticed that the school system is falling apart but I suppose you want to blame that on parents and students to right? So lets see when the Administration does nothing to help our kids that is the kids fault? I'm sorry i guess I had it all wrong let me go and start placing blame on all the kids that didn't call backs from their counselors and say im sorry we are small minded individuals that don't know anything. Becuase the MAN said so.

Let us see how well that goes over with people.

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Truckermother 2 years ago

Hold on a minute I know that I just didn't read what I think I did. Look I will say that some of this maybe parent involvement but you can't sit there and tell me that the whole AHS student body has parents that aren't involved with there kids. OK I thought that I read everything and you want to talk about small minded people then include yourself there because there is some heavy blame that needs to be placed on Administration over there as well they don't do the job expected of them they do half way. It isn't bad enough that the kids suffer but now its the parents fault that the administration doesn't do their job.

Interesting!!!!! That is a question for every parent to answer I really don't think you would like the outcome of that rally.

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maxieboy0797 2 years ago

The comments on this article has gotten away from the title "Newton Schools Expect $1.5 million extra for budget". This article is very strange to me. It begins with positive signs of things beginning to look up. It begins to slide down hill a little when they begin discussing teacher's furloughs. Teachers got furloughed again 6 days this year. I work for NCSS. The decision to furlough teachers is easily offered by NCSS county administrators because it is a win/win for the county office. You see they cut us 6 days BUT we get letters from our administrators that say our rooms need to be READY by our FIRST preplanning day because the county schedules so many meetings that are mandatory for us to attend. It is near impossible to have a room ready for open house in only 3 days. That means I work without any pay AND I will. Why? Because I still love teaching. I will because I want everything to be ready for my students when they come for open house. They know this. They know they can cut 6 days to save money and get the same amount work from employees for free. They know! It is a win/win for them. Then the article really hits bottom because now, even with the GOOD news of $1.5m, it is recommended they begin looking at what needs to be cut from the budget. More furlough days? That's easy. No step raises! I can't remember the last year that even happened. What a good feeling when I started reading this article about the improving funds to the schools system only to be sucker punched in the end. Oh and as a final note why are students leaving Newton County Schools. REALLY? We must get discipline under control in all schools so the teachers can teach and those that want to learn have that opportunity again. AHS is NOT the only problem maybe just the worst.

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