Pearl River County School District releases 2017-2018 budget
The Pearl River County School District unveiled the 2017-2018 budget to the public on Monday night.
Business Administrator T.J. Burleson gave a presentation on the balanced budget totaling $22,587,206.00 with an estimated unreserved fund balance of $200,000.00.
“We are very excited to be able to put together a balanced budget to present to our school district,” Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said. “We’ve had a lot of challenges with increased enrollment over the last couple of years. With the increase of State funding that has allowed us to be able to absorb the federal budget cuts we’ve had but also be able to hire some new teachers to help with increased enrollment.”
Due to increased enrollment of nearly 150 students, PRC school district will receive $16,690 in MAEP State Funds, an increase of over $2,000 from last year.
Support for the school district’s budget also includes as an Ad Valorem Request of $5.6 million, roughly the same as last year’s request.
“We haven’t asked for or requested any more dollars for the last few years,” Burleson said. “The county assessment going up last year, which we have no control over, resulted in a decrease in millage by about 5 mils.”
The Trump administration's fiscal 2018 budget proposal calls for a $6 billion reduction in spending for the Department of Education. This cut, if it happens, would directly affect programs like Title II, also known as Supporting Effective Instruction program. Due to this possibility Burleson and the PRC School District planned the 2017-2018 budget accordingly, as though those cuts are definite.
“Because we don’t know what Trump is going to do with the Title II budget we decided to just take the safe route and just act like we’re not getting the funding,” Burleson said. “That cut would be about $300,000 so I prepared the budget to absorb those costs. If we do end up getting that money then we’ll have a surplus.”
Additions to the Budget
Twenty four positions were added district wide for the 2017-2018 school year, including two first grade assistant teachers and one special education teacher at the lower elementary school, and two lead teachers and two special education teachers at the upper elementary school. Four regular education teachers and two special education teaching positions will be added and four regular education teachers and two special education teachers will also be added to the high school staff as well as a dyslexia therapist for the district.
During the past few months, the district made changes with their maintenance services when long time contractor J.I. Luke Enterprises announcing its ‘retirement’ from providing those services. With this action the district chose to deliver those services with a combination of in-house personnel combined with contractors for specific parts of the former Luke contract.
“We actually thought we’d be spending a lot more money to bring our maintenance department in house and hire a maintenance director and technicians for each of our campuses and be able to provide all the tools and vehicles needed,” Lumpkin said. “But we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the costs. We’ll save in services. Had to reinvest what we saved in equipment but the first year will be a wash and we’re excited about that.”
Chromebook carts for every classroom was another big addition to the budget as well. The purchase of these chromebooks was a big thing, because not only do they bring new technology to the students of Pearl River Central they also eliminate labs freeing up classroom space to accommodate the increased student population, explained Lumpkin.
Deletions from the Budget
Deletions from the previous budget include two special education assistants at the middle school, one assistant principal on the McNeill campus and an adaptive physical education teacher.
The board will vote on the 2017-2018 budget at the next Pearl River Central School District meeting on July 7.