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TCSS looks at proposed budget for 2021-2022

During Thursday night’s meeting, the Troup County School Board got its first look at the proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Following two public hearings scheduled for May, a tentative budget will be approved in May, and the final budget will be approved in June.

TCSS is estimated to bring in $117,405,480 in revenue and to have $125,808,808 in expenses. However, the $8,403,328 difference in expenses will be offset with CARES II funding. Both the revenue and expenses increased from the 2020-2021 budget.

In the 2020-2021 budget, the revenue was $111,573,680. TCSS is projecting a $4,681,050 increase in state funding and a $1,150,150 increase in local funding to get to the $117 million revenue projection.  In the 2020-2021 budget, the expense budget was $121,353,532. The proposed 2021-2022 budget proposed an expense increase of $4,455,276. A majority of that is teacher retirement system, additional teachers, coaches and speech and language pathologists, and operation cost increases. 

A majority of the expenditures — $73,573,160 or 58.5 percent — are going directly to instruction. That’s an increase of just over $4 million compared to the previous budget.

“The majority of our budget is spent on direct instruction and appropriately so,” said Chief Financial Officer Scott Burckbuchler. 

Maintenance and operations remains the second largest expense category at $13,609,335, 10.8 percent of the total budget. Transportation is next at $9,396,614, or 7.5 percent of the budget and school administration, totaling $9,426,872, is next at 7.5 percent.

Superintendent Brian Shumate went over the budget priorities for 2021-2022, and although general in nature, he said he felt they gave a good overview of what TCSS is trying to accomplish. The ten priorities included improving instructional and curricular coherence, recruiting, training and retaining high quality staff, educating the entire child, enhancing community partnerships and improving operational efficiency. 

“Between additional expenses and lack of revenue, that CARES II fund was very beneficial in balancing the budget without having to dip into the reserves,” Shumate said. “Our [American Rescue Plan] money, the bigger number that has been written about and talked about a little bit, is still to come. We want to use that money wisely in the next year, and actually the following budget season, so we can smooth any effects so we don’t have a huge funding cliff.”

TCSS will receive $29.1 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan. 

The entire proposed budget was expected to be posted Friday on the TCSS website, and changes are possible over the next month.