The Clarke County School Board budget is off to a positive start, even if the adjustment is relatively small. The school system looks to gain $94K in unexpected new funds from state and federal government sources and has asked the Clarke County Board of Supervisors to approve the subsequent spending of the funds once the school board decides just how the funds should be spent.
According to Joint Administrative Services director Tom Judge, the funds are the result of adjustments to the county’s reported “average daily membership” of students. Both state and federal government contribute education funding to localities like Clarke County based on the ADM, effectively the student census.
“When we started putting the school budget together about six months ago it was before we knew exactly what the federal award amount would be” said Judge. “We also discovered that we had more stimulus money than expected but a slightly lower ADM. This amount is the actual amount associated with those variables.”
Judge said that the actual ADM rate worked out to be $2044 per student.
At Wednesday’s special school board meeting to CCPS Superintendent, Dr. Michael Murphy said that adding the additional funding authorization to the school budget allows the district to build capacity for expenses that may be larger than expected, but does not mandate that the funds necessarily be spent in this fiscal year.
“We may spend all of the $94K this year or none of the $94K this year,” Murphy said.
School Board member, Robina Bouffault (White Post) pointed out that since the funding is coming from state and federal sources it will not impact the tight budget that the county supervisors have guarded through the just-finished budget process.
“This funding will not increase the Clarke County budget for schools because it is offset by state and federal revenue,” Bouffault said. “Approval and appropriation by the Board of Supervisors for the School Board to spend the money is a technical formality.”
According to the resolution passed unanimously yesterday, the found funding could go toward employee leave payouts ($57.5K), software ($14K), athletic services ($7K), vehicle maintenance supplies ($6.5K) and school supplies ($9K).
Once approved by the Board of Supervisors at its April 19th meeting, the funding will be available for expenditure. However, it is likely that it will be carried over to the next fiscal year which many believe will be even leaner than the current fiscal environment.
“Will we spend the money this year?” said one county official close to the spending process. “My guess is probably not. If we can manage to carryover the money to next fiscal year we will.”
After approving the budget adjustment the school board entered close session. On the agenda for the private meeting included reduction in force, staffing reductions, and position reassignments.
The result of the closed session, and any decisions that may have been made, were not immediately available.