Schools have tight budget due to proration
by Daniel Gaddy
Aug 24, 2010 | 1434 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Jasper City Board of Education reviewed the school district's finances Monday evening and found a tight budget that looks to only get tighter.

During the meeting, the board approved the City Schools' financial reports for last year. John Skalnik, chief financial officer for the school district, said the system ended with a gain of around $14,000. However, given that the Jasper City Schools receive more than $20 million a year in revenue, the district basically broke even.

Superintendent Robert Sparkman said the board expected a similar figure in gains.

"We stuck to the budget we prepared," he said. "So, it's a good thing because it has been unsure times."

The board also reviewed its budget for the fiscal year 2011. With all revenues and expenditures considered, financial officers expect to see a gain of around $532,000. However, Skalnik said state officials are predicting more proration, meaning the city schools will likely have to spend the excess funds.

"We are probably looking at another break-even budget," he said.

Skalnik said, because of extreme proration, close to 90 percent of the district's expenses go directly to the costs of employees such as salaries or benefits.

"We are operating on bare bones," he said.

According to the budget, the school system will have around $1.2 million in general federal revenues in the fiscal year of 2011. Skalnik said the vast majority of those funds are from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus package. He said those funds will not continue next year.

"The budget takes on an almost $1.2 million hit next year," he said.

The board will hold its final budget hearing Monday, Aug. 30, at 5 p.m. at the Board of Education building near Maddox Middle School. Sparkman said comments and questions from the public are welcomed, and residents may pick up a copy of the budget at the Board of Education building.

In other business, the board approved:

- The use of federal stimulus package funds for personnel and materials costs, which Sparkman said the federal government allows.

- A five-year contract between the City Schools and Alabama Power Company for a reduced rate in fees for power usage. The school district will receive a six-percent discount for the first three years of the contract.

- The lease of an 8,000-square-foot building on 6th Avenue, which will be used as a maintenance department and storage facility.