COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education approved a final budget for next school year without further discussions.
During its regular session monthly meeting on Tuesday, the board unanimously approved its $145 million budget, which is nearly 3 percent higher than last school year's budget, mainly due to increases in state retirement and health benefits.
The board had approved a tentative budget for the Newton County School System for the 2012-13 school year in May and has made no changes or held any further discussions since then.
Next school year, which begins July 1, is expected to begin with a $15,596,531 fund balance carried over from this school year. The year will end June 30, 2013 with a more than $10 million balance, which is somewhat less than the state recommended 7 percent, according to Dr. Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent of Operations at NCSS.
Local revenues are estimated to be at $52,650,204, or about 36 percent of the budget, while state resources are expected to be $92,762,178.
The budget is expected to support enrollment between 17,621 and 19,224 students; this school year ended with an enrollment of 18,919 students. The estimate includes about 9,400 elementary school students, about 4,800 middle school students and about 5,800 high school students.
Class sizes are expected to be between 21 and 32 students per class next school year, and state waivers could allow for between one and three more students in some instances.
Major expenditures in the budget include $116,838,634 in salaries and benefits, which makes up more than 86 percent of the budget, as well as nearly $5.1 million for utilities and fuel, nearly $4.7 million for repairs and maintenance, nearly $2.7 million in instructional textbooks and supplies, nearly $850,000 in equipment and furniture and nearly $5.3 in other departments, like professional learning, insurance, professional services and fees.
The board plans to adopt a millage rate on July 17. It is expected to increase to 21.90 from 21.073, including 20 mills for maintenance and operations and an estimated 1.9 for debt services, which would be an increase from 1.073; however, NCSS is expected to receive the final tax digest sometime this month.