Public hearing set for $34.7 million school budget – The Morgan Messenger
by Kate Evans
The Morgan County School Board approved its proposed total budget for fiscal year 2023 of $34,752,708 for release at its May 3 meeting. School treasurer Ann Bell presented her budget at the meeting before the school board vote.
The proposed total budget revenue consists of a current expenditure fund estimated at $27,578,960 and a special revenue fund of approximately $3,673,747.
The Federal Recovery and Stabilization Fund (Fund 71) also has revenues of $3,500,000. It includes funding from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), money from the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF), and funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
The school’s current expenditure fund budget revenue increased by $1,365,371 from the prior year due to tax revenue from increased property values and assistance from the state for increased enrollment, Bell said.
State assistance increased by $734,354.
The Special Income Fund was up $85,345 from the prior year, and Fund 71 federal stimulus money was up $2 million.
Public hearing on the budget
A public hearing for the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 is scheduled for the Tuesday, May 17 school board meeting that begins at 6 p.m. at the school board office. The budget will be officially adopted later in the meeting. The public can also attend the meeting via Zoom. Instructions for accessing the Zoom meeting link are in the meeting agenda on the county school’s website.
The school budget is published in today’s edition of Morgan’s Messenger and is also posted on the Morgan County Schools website. Hard copies are available at the school board office.
Income from the General Current Expenditures Fund includes an expected amount of $5,586,232 in regular school property taxes, $4,724,733 in special taxes, $812,500 in prior year taxes, $10,032,146 in aid from Total baseline status and an estimated carry forward fund balance of $1,000,000. Some $500,000 of the carryover – 2% of the budget – is earmarked for contingencies.
Estimated tax revenue from combined school levies increased by $502,351 from fiscal year 2022. Bell said the value of county-assessed properties increased by $56,374,981 since last year, with a $36,588,584 increase in the value of Class II residential properties. The local share deduction increased by $235,895 due to increased tax revenue, which reduces state assistance by the same amount, Bell noted.
Bell’s preliminary secondary calculations show that total projected base state aid will increase by $647,724 for fiscal year 2023, primarily due to increased student enrollment. There has been an increase of 37.70 full-time enrolled students (FTEs) this school year, which means more state aid. State aid is based on the number of student enrollments.
Bell said the school system has 3.91 professional staff and 7.494 service staff compared to the state formula. It also has 12 professional staff who are not eligible for state funding, including some director positions, the Bell Treasurer position, and the payroll director. Salaries and benefits make up approximately 80% of the school’s budget.
There are also debt service payments – the CMTA energy management program lease purchase payment of $251,355 and the QZAB interest-free loan payment of $66,666 for the renovations of Berkeley Springs High School, Bell said.
Costs for contracted services for specialists are still pending, she said. Rising costs for the pre-K/Head Start collaboration, vehicle replacements, and items like diesel fuel and gasoline due to the economy and inflation are other factors for Bell to budget for. .
Bell said tuition for James Rumsey Technical Institute has gone down as fewer students attend.
Estimated school expense categories include $15,313,908 for instruction; $2,892,171 for operation and maintenance of facilities; $2,301,949 for student transportation; $1,796,327 for student support services; $1,607,998 for school administration; $1,253,270 for teaching staff; $446,303 for central services; and $354,106 for headquarters. Some 56% of the budget is spent on education, Bell said.
Some $21,047,406 will go towards professional and service staff salaries, replacement costs, additional salaries for coaches, after-school tutors and extracurricular duties, and benefits including health insurance, pension benefits, social security, health insurance and dental/vision insurance.
Special Revenue Fund
The $3,673,747 Special Revenue Fund includes Title 1, 2 and 4 Funding, Special Education Funding, Child Nutrition, Bus Replacement, Vocational Technical Education, Alternative Education, faculty senates, staff development, and the 21st Century Learning Grant for the Extracurricular. programs.
The total estimated revenue from the special levy for fiscal year 2023 is $4,724,733, some $230,190 more than the $4,494,543 projected last year.
The special levy appeal designates $1,904,860 for employee salaries and benefits; $1,147,438 to support essential educational programs, including alternative education, prevention resources, and behavioral, academic, and remedial support; $535,000 for facility maintenance, security and capital improvements; $125,000 for technology hardware, software, infrastructure, repair and training; $400,000 for teaching materials and supplies; and $35,000 for combined support from Morgan County Public Library and Paw Paw Public Library.
The major general expenditures proposed for the current expenditures fund for fiscal year 2023 are $10,848,496 for professional regular salaries, $2,590,384 for service staff regular salaries, unfunded pension liability of 2 $342,802, $1,661,139 for health/life insurance premiums, $1,100,650 for Social Security, a total of $1,004,829 for pensions, $670,000 for electricity and $600,000 $ for other professional services.
Other large school system expenses include $460,760 for purchased services – LEA in-state, $325,214 for non-technical repair/maintenance service, $320,515 for professional supplemental salaries, $250,000 for locums $192,500 for service personnel replacements, $230,553 for textbooks, $226,413 for general supplies, $175,000 for diesel fuel, and $149,050 for maintenance supplies.