“There is some capital project money budgeted,” said Tanya Holcomb, chief financial officer for the system.
She said there is enough money in the capital project fund to purchase the former DHR building and to renovate it, even though money was not allocated in next fiscal year’s budget for the purchase and renovation of the building.
“We may look at shifting funds or delaying some projects,” Holcomb said. “Obviously, we have to have a home.”
School board officials say the BOE lease of the CenturyLink building, which currently houses the central office, ends March 2014.
The St. Clair County Commission has agreed to sell the former DHR building, which was damaged by fire in 2009, to the school board for $125,000. Last week, the board approved the purchase.
Holcomb said the board generally amends the budget twice during the year, once in January and again in June.
She said revenues are expected to exceed expenditures next fiscal year. Revenues are projected to reach $29 million, while expenses are estimated at $27.7 million.
Holcomb said revenues are expected to exceed expenses by about $81,918, which should bring the School System’s reserve fund up to $2.5 million, more than the state required amount for the system to have in reserve.
She said a school board is required by the state to have at least enough money in reserve to pay for the system’s operating costs for one month.
Earlier in the year, the school board considered refinancing a 2006 bond issue, but Holcomb said interest rates have escalated and it is uncertain if it is still feasible to refinance the old debt. Earlier in the year, when rates were lower, the School System could have seen an estimated $800,000 savings in refinancing the 2006 bond issue.
Holcomb said about 75 percent of this year’s budget is for salaries.
She said the school board has about 10 teacher units that are funded with local money. This includes six teachers and one principal at the Rise Academy, one teacher at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School and partial units at other schools because of the increase in student numbers.
According to this year’s budget, the Education Trust Fund supports 231.70 teacher units, eight principals, four assistant principals, nine librarians and 10 counselors for the Pell City School System.
According to the 2014 fiscal year budget, the School System anticipates it will receive $21.5 million from the state’s Education Trust Fund and about $7.4 million from local revenues, sales taxes, ad valorem taxes, etc.
The 2014 budget also includes funds for a storm shelter at the Pell City Center, which is next to the high school.
The School System’s debt service or total debt is currently $35.4 million, of which debt payments of $1.8 million are allocated in the 2014 fiscal year budget.
School officials said the system saw another increase in the student population this year. The School System had 4,022 students enrolled last year, and currently has 4,070 students this year. During the 2011-2012 school year, the system had 3,994 students enrolled.
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