The Commerce Board of Education’s quest for financial solvency continues.
The school board voted Monday night to approve a tentative FY15 budget of $12 million it hopes will leave the school system with $775,000 in reserves when the school year ends on June 30, 2015, enabling the system to return to a 180-day instructional calendar the following year.
“There were two things we wanted to do,” reminded superintendent Joy Tolbert, “build up the fund balance and get the days back for the students and the employees. That is terribly, terribly important.”
But it won’t happen next school year. The 2014-15 school year calendar calls for 174 days of instruction and 180 days for employees. Prior to the Great Recession, the standard was 180 days of instruction and 190 days for employees.
After advertising the budget, the school board expects to approve it at its July 14 meeting.
“I’m just proud to have a budget by July 1. That was our goal,” Tolbert remarked. That was a reference to this year, when it took into the fall to pass the budget.
The budget shows property tax levies of $3 million, down from $3,256,597 for the current budget, but Tolbert indicated at last Thursday’s “work session” that the reduced figure is a reflection of collection expectations, rather than of a reduction from the 20-mill maintenance and operations tax rate.
“Collection of taxes has not been strong this year,” she advised. “Right now we are at 7 percent (of budget). We’re kind of estimating lower on that this year.”
State funding for the 2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1, is up by $742,000, Tolbert said.
For the full story, see the June 11 issue of The Commerce News.