The board will conduct a second public hearing today (Thursday) at 10 a.m., again at the central office, then adjourn until 1 p.m., where they are expected to vote on the budget during a called meeting.
During Wednesday’s meeting, board chairwoman Shirley Simmons-Sims questioned adjustments to Chief Financial Officer Tina Parris’s salary schedule. Superintendent Doug Campbell explained that he had met with the board members two at a time, to avoid public notice requirements, and had explained his reasoning, but would do so again if necessary.
Under current Alabama law, it is perfectly acceptable to intentionally avoid establishing a quorum to circumvent the requirements of the open meetings law.
As presented by Parris, the coming year projects general fund revenue of $17,201,734, over general fund expenditures of $17,589,300. Although general fund expenditures will exceed revenues by $387,566, the board will start the year with a cushion of just over $4.5 million in the general fund.
Parris said that adjustments to the capital improvement budget were not initially reflected in the numbers presented to the board, but would be corrected in the information provided at today’s meeting.
The board will end the current fiscal year (Sept. 30) with an estimated three months of operating revenue in reserve, and will close the 2014 fiscal year with 2.45 months, Parris said.
The overall estimated ending balance for the general fund is projected at $3,719,526.
Parris also pointed out that much of the budget was beyond the board’s control, including almost 82 percent to cover salaries and fringe benefits as mandated by the state. Purchased services, including contractors and utilities, account for another 11.4 percent, also largely beyond the board’s control.
The budget is very similar to the one the board approved last year, but the fact that average daily attendance was down 25 for the year had cost the system 0.68 teacher units. A coding change had decreased the number of director units available in the career tech program from 1.75 to 1. The system was also down half a librarian for the coming year.
She was unable to explain some other changes without consulting the code directory, but said she would answer the board’s questions today.