District grapples with budget pressures

School baord swearing-in

Sworn in last week to four-year terms on the school board are, from left, Teresa Ann Martin, Pam Shiver and George Thompson.

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 04:27 PM.

No sooner had the Franklin County School Board welcomed a new member and organized itself for the new year when the five members faced the stark reality of an extremely tight budget situation not even halfway through the 2012-13 fiscal year.

After detailing a drop of hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipated revenue, and an unsustainable fund balance down to a mere $114,000 in unrestricted funds, Finance Director Shannon Venable made it clear at last week’s Nov. 20 meeting the situation was serious.

“Making these adjustments, we have a negative fund balance,” she said. “We won’t have enough to pay our bills this year.”

Venable said the district will have to respond to a $563,000 loss in property tax revenues, the result of a 6 percent drop in July at the first certification, and another 7 percent decline after the final certification in October.

She said another adjustment she has had to make is in miscellaneous state revenue, which was budgeted at $95,000 for the 2012-13 fiscal year, even though the district last year received only $3,000 in this category.

Gone is $95,945 in discretionary operating funds, as well as $80,000 in BP funds that the district received early on following the April 2010 oil spill, Venable said. One of the only bright spots in the revenue picture was that the district will now be able to recoup from the food service program about $30,000 in utility costs, she said.

An ongoing preliminary audit is showing $36,000 in disallowed capital project money, which are monies that had been allocated from the 1.5-mill capital outlay funds for maintenance, but which were never spent.

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