Troup County BOE holds public meeting on budget

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In a brief meeting Monday afternoon, the Troup County Board of Education listened to a presentation delivered by Chief Financial Officer Byron Jones related to the tentative 2019 fiscal year general fund budget.

The hearing, which was the first of two such meetings the BOE will hold, is required of all boards of education and certain charter schools in order to allow the public the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns they may have related to impending budgetary decisions.

The tentative general fund budget for the 2019 fiscal year calls for additional spending of $6,655,220 over the current year. Of this $6.6 million, $3,505,220 is to be spent on recommended enhancements for performance-based budgeting, which includes line items such as elementary, middle and high school spending as well as special education instruction. That $3.5 million is already down from an originally-proposed $6,074,899 in increased spending in performance-based budgeting.

“I want the public to understand we’ve used as much fidelity as we can to shave that back in from $6 million to $3.5 million,” Jones said in the meeting.

The remaining $3,150,000 is to be used to cover an increase in the employer contribution to the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia from 16.81 percent to 20.9 percent, which represents the biggest single-year increase in the program’s 39-year history, as well as annual step increases and potential salary adjustments.

These additional expenditures will result in the school system running at approximately a $5 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, though that deficit number is subject to change in the coming weeks based on a number of factors, including an increase in property tax revenue and potential expense reduction through salary savings.

Notwithstanding these potential reductions to the deficit, the board feels comfortable signing off on a deficit of that amount due to the robust reserve funds that have accumulated in recent years.

“It is above the state recommended minimum level, which is 15 percent of next year’s operating expenditures,” Jones said.

“In addition, Gov. Deal has given us an estimated $1.1 million back in our austerity reduction, which we just found out about two weeks ago. We also think property tax revenues may come in higher (than anticipated). We’ve got one or two more versions of that that need to come in.”

Unrelated to the reserve funds or the cash windfall from the state, however, Jones reiterated that the proposed budget is needed to properly serve the students in Troup County. 

“We need to serve the students,” Jones added. “We need to do the right thing and serve them well.”