While no millage rate increase has been proposed and there has been 100 percent teacher placement for the upcoming year, according to Executive Director of Human Resources Macy Defnall, the system’s chief financial officer has warned of a grim picture of the budget and future budgets based on cuts in state and federal funding as well as the ongoing rise in cost of certified employee health insurance.
“I’ll be honest with you, this is kind of a dismal picture as we begin to look at how much longer can we go budgeting deficits,” Bartow County Schools Chief Financial Officer Todd Hooper said in a May BCBOE meeting. “We have to begin thinking about how we view education in Bartow County over the next, probably, really the next seven months if we take this budget on and we go into the next budget year.”
During the meeting, Hooper laid out other examples of changes occurring in revenues and expenses compared to the system’s 2009 budget. In 2009, Bartow County Schools saw a balanced budget of $122.9 million and have since experienced a 17 percent drop in revenue and a 12.5 percent decrease in expenditures. Also, the fund balance was at $25 million.
The dwindling fund balance was stressed by Hooper as an issue of top priority as the projected 2014 budget falls below the 10 percent guideline. While Bartow County Schools have yet to increase millage rates, Hooper added that options are limited to make up the current projected deficit.
“Out of $170.5 million in expenses, $95.4 million is salary and benefits,” Hooper said. “So when you start to look and say, ‘How can I make up $6 million?’ There’s only $12 million of energy, gas, consumables and supplies in there. Quite obviously, to cover that gap it’s impossible to do it from cutting stuff. I say that to kind of lay the line out that, obviously if our fund balance goes to $9.5 million, we won’t be able to continue operating the way we have in the past.”
To view Monday’s agenda and accompanying documents, visit www.bartow.k12.ga.us.