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Surplus forecast for Fayette BoE, amid calls to restore teacher pay

Reports on the financial state of the Fayette County School System show that both revenues and expenditures are on track to end the year June 30 with a $17 million fund balance.

One-cent sales tax revenues, if maintained, could come close to reaching the $115 million ceiling.

That was the message last week at the regular meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education.

“Tax revenues are pretty strong,” Comptroller Laura Brock said of the local revenue portion of the budget. “And they’re stronger than they were last year at this time.”

Actual property tax revenue collected thus far totaled $60 million along with $2.87 million in vehicle taxes. Both figures, along with other revenue sources such as transfer and intangible taxes, put the school system on track to collect $89.5 million by the end of the school year.

The school system in the original budget showed a total of $89.3 million in local revenues and $83.8 million from the state for a total of more than $173 million.

But with the continuing recession the situation with state revenues is likely to become tenuous. Brock said school systems could see a minimum revenue decrease of 2 percent and perhaps more for the remaining school year.

The decision on the fate of any upcoming state budget cuts will take shape between January and April when the General Assembly and Governor-elect Nathan Deal take a closer look at the state economy.

As for the expenditure side of the budget, Brock said the school system through November was approximately $2 million under budget.

And though the current budget anticipated a $5 million deficit for the school year, the school system as it stands now will finish the year June 30 with a budget deficit of only $275,394.

That said, the school system began the year July 1 with a $17.2 million fund balance and is expected to end the year in essentially the same shape.

And it is that fund balance that some in the school system say should go back to employees after they experienced a 4.5 percent pay cut two years ago.

Employees last year did receive a one-time pay adjustment of 1.5 percent, but some in the school system, such as McIntosh teacher Joseph Jarrell and Fayette County High School teacher Dana Camp, maintain that the remainder should be returned to employees.

Also making Brock’s report last week was the status of the school system’s one-cent sales tax. It has been nearly a year and a half since the Fayette County School System began collecting revenues from the six-year SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) for education. Through November, the school system has collected $28.65 million in sales tax revenues.

Brock last week told school board members that revenues through November total $28,649,159. At that rate, and assuming that collections remain steady, the six-year collection period could generate close to the $115 million ceiling.

Approved by voters in November 2008, the SPLOST carries a $115 million maximum, with revenues going for technology, textbook adoption, facilities, security, transportation and debt service.

The school system through December was expected to use approximately $11.6 million of the funds collected.

A breakdown of planned SPLOST expenditures include $38 million on debt service, $47.5 million for technology and equipment, $17 million for work on existing school buildings and facilities, $10 million for the purchase of school buses and $2 million for textbooks.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

Until recently, DM was unaware that there were teacher's unions in GA.
If the writer had identified Joe Jarrell as the local rep for GAE and Dana Camp with NEA, it would help readers like DM to further their understanding about the teacher's unions.

Live free or die!

1and1isnt3's picture

Why don't you enlighten us as to which union represents the teachers here in Fayette County?

See recent comments.

I thought the eSPLOST was for 20 quarters or 5 years...not 6. At least that is what I voted on.

Fayette is the ONLY county in the state that cut pay on the pay scale.
Out of hundreds of counties in the state, is there anyone out there that thinks for some reason that the minds that are in control are so sharp that they came up with the best idea in the STATE: cut pay
I know plenty of teachers and most of them are trapped as far as no where else to go right now! Right now is the key word. Most of the teachers I have talked with also feel like they will NEVER get that money back.
It is a mess and most are afraid to speak out against current admin. I wonder if the guy coming in from Maine has a clue to what kind of hornet's nest he is flying into. Good Luck and God bless the teachers in such trying times!

I hope that part of that $45+ million will be spent on upgrading the finance department. The citizens then should have no more excuses as to why FCBOE comptroller, Laura Brock, cannot give an end-of-the-year report as to just how much the FCBOE fund balance is. It is rediculous that 6 months after the close of the school year, June 30, 2010, no definite fund balance has been given.

The mole has hit the nail on the head. The sad fact of the matter is that the FCBOE is woefully behind the times on computerized accounting techniques.

The reason is quite simple: <strong>computers don't vote</strong>.

Rather than automate the financial reporting systems at the BOE, the powers that be have continued the "We are Mayberry!" tradition of hiring warm bodies to collate data manually and create reports, just like was done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Each patronage job means a handful of votes for the Smith-Smola power axis. In a county where the voter turnout typically ranges from 6,000 to 8,000 votes, a dozen votes here and there can make all the difference to an incumbent.

suggarfoot's picture

and a few little isolated email trees so one group doesn't know what the other is promised, also helps on the votes...But..I think the overbuilding of schools, and the bullying of the 3 amigos to get their way, has now left the last 2 amigos in a hole they can't crawl out of. There is no doubt that all the new schools along the bypass to no where haven't been overlooked by the hard press taxpayers. 2/3 of your Fayette county taxes go to the schools and school bonds...look at your tax bill!

In case anyone has forgotten, Rivers Elmentary was something the 3 amigos ..INSISTED.. on buildng despite the fact that attendence was going down. Now, the 6-7 million dollar school sits with 30ish students and a private offices for some.

I'm sure everytime the teachers drive by Rivers, they realize there lays part of their paycheck.

Jan 1, there is a new gang in town. No more 3 amigos. No more learning experience with the taxpayer's dollars, for a 2 yr psych major, that 'wants to be thought of as the wizardess of wallstreet.

The 'new majority' is teacher and child oriented. How refreshing this is gonna be. Three cheers for Dr Todd, Marion Key, and last but not least, Dr Tolbert!

ps..yes computers ..have..taken a back seat.... because developers can't install them!

Happy New Year!

PTC Observer's picture

you are beginning to sound like an anti-statist.

Do you think your example of local politics is any different than the federal level when real money is involved?

Are you having an epiphany?

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