If all goes well, a year from now the Jackson County School System will start to rebuild its beleaguered reserve fund.
The Jackson County Board of Education approved a tentative $81 million budget Monday night that will hopefully allow the system to put $750,000 back into its reserve fund. The system has had to tap its reserves in recent years to make ends meet due to the drastic decline in the local tax digest and cuts in state dollars. The system recently enacted a reduction in force (RIF) to cut staffing in a bid to lower its costs next year.
The BOE also approved a tentative millage rate of 19.276 mills, the same as last year. The board raised the rate in 2013 to avoid a financial collapse.
The system is hoping the county tax digest won’t go down further. Officials said Monday night that the county tax appraiser’s office thinks the digest might go up by two percent this year.
“Our goal with all of these strategies is, over the course of three years, to reach our goal of a $9 million fund balance (reserves),” said superintendent April Howard. “So, if we can accumulate $3 or more million a year, then we can reach our goal of a $9 million fund balance and gain significant stability relative to what we were dealing with this time last year.”