Board members at their May 10 business session penciled in a not-to-exceed total of $32,409,100 as the tentative amount of Cartersville City Schools' FY2011 budget, a number already down $209,000 from the current FY2010 budget but supplemented by $900,000 taken from the district's savings. District officials in the last few days, however, learned that local revenues coming to them were going to take a bigger hit than anticipated -- a more than 6 percent drop versus the 3 percent slip they had originally budgeted.
But another revenue source coming in higher than expected will help the district absorb the hit to local funding, while its savings also will cover some of the drop. Those funding sources will keep the budget at its $32,409,100 amount.
"We're going to try to absorb that reduction out of our savings," Superintendent Howard Hinesley said Wednesday. "We got a little bit more from the state from [Quality Basic Education funding], and that is what's helping us balance that."
Officials Thursday afternoon learned of another factor that would be hitting the district's pocketbook when the fiscal year begins July 1. About 2:30 p.m., they learned from the Georgia Department of Community Health that their share of the employer's health insurance for certified employees would be increased by 3.5 percent from its mid-18.5 percent range starting next month -- an estimated $500,000 hit to the system.
About two hours later, system leaders were notified that the increase was amended to an annual rate of 19.3893 percent -- resulting in a rate of 21.955 percent for three months and 18.534 percent for nine months.
"What they're saying is, and I feel confident that it's probably a result of people contacting them, is that they're going to use a blended rate," Hinesley said. "What that means is they're going to be charging the systems 21.955 percent for the first three months, then they're going to adjust that -- the reason is they don't have the money to pay claims that they have.
"The problem with that is is that if they don't have the money at midyear, that will increase the likelihood of another cut," he added.
Hinesley said that while the district may see a QBE funding bump to absorb some of the rate increase, it still could sustain a financial blow. "I don't think it will be a $500,000 hit, but it's going to be something," he added.
If the potential hit reaches the half-million mark, it would be the equivalent of five payroll days, as Hinesley said every day the district furloughs all employees equals about $100,000. "That kind of gives you the idea of what kind of reaction this probably got," he added.
While Thursday's news will not change the amount of the budget to be voted on by board members Monday, officials said it could affect decisions just a few months from now.
"We've been talking about the probability next year of a midyear cut. This is an action that leads you to think that that probability has just gone up," Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse told board members.
Board members also will consider approving a proposal to keep the millage rate at 17.23 mills. If the measure gets their OK, the Cartersville City Council will consider adopting the rate at a future meeting.
The board will Monday at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom.