School budget of over $28 million is approved
The Morgan County School Board unanimously approved their proposed fiscal year 2013 budget at a May 1 special meeting at Widmyer Elementary held prior to their regular meeting.
No members of the public spoke at the public hearing that was scheduled before their vote.
Their proposed budget total was upped from $27,964,950 to $28,041,319 because of additional federal Title 1 and special education money that came in for the special revenue fund, said School Treasurer Nancy White.
The total school budget includes $23,841,066 for the general expense fund, $3,875,253 for the special revenue fund and $325,000 for the capital projects fund.
The general expense fund is funded through the regular school levy (current expense levy), the special levy (excess levy), state aid, federal sources and Medicaid reimbursements.
Nearly $4.82 million from the regular school levy, almost $5.46 million from the special levy and some $670,000 in prior year taxes are expected as revenue. The fund will also receive around $11.5 million in state aid and $450,000 in federal funding. It also includes nearly $800,000 in carryover monies.
The special revenue fund includes Title 1 and Title 2 funding and monies for special education, vocational instruction, staff development, school nurses, alternative education, bus replacement and child nutrition.
The general expense fund includes some $13.86 million for salaries and over $4.77 million in employee benefits.
Other top expenditures are health and life insurance, social security matching, retirement payments, electricity, substitute personnel salaries, supplemental salaries, contracted and professional services, supplies, services, repair and maintenance, textbooks, communications and fuel.
At the May 1 meeting, White gave a PowerPoint presentation on the budget that she had shared with employees. It touched on school enrollment, per pupil costs, over the formula positions, expenditures, and the special levy rate and budget cuts.
Morgan County Schools was about providing a “ ‘learning for all’ educational program, recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, providing a safe and secure place for children to learn and providing all the tools necessary to allow students to achieve and prosper in the 21st Century,” White said.
They also strove to maintain system-wide programs and initiatives and stay on top of any requirements and regulatory changes.
The county was way below the state average in the average number of students per school and enrollment had been steadily decreasing since the 2007-2008 school year, White said. Paw Paw High School had to offer the same curriculum as Berkeley Springs High School, which factored into the school’s high per pupil cost.
The school aid funding formula was based on enrollment. State aid formula limits existed for professional personnel and service personnel. Morgan County paid the full salary and benefits of personnel employed over the formula, including workman’s compensation, White noted.
There had been a large hike in costs like utilities, contracted services and fuel for buses and vehicles. The school system saved around $280,000 with personnel cuts and cut other line items to balance the budget.
The school board had kept the special levy at 88.5% of its voter-approved 100% rate for the last two years, but increased it to 93.8% this year because of increased expenses and expected reduced revenue, she said.