School officials propose $29 million budget for 2020-2021; public hearing set for Tuesday

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board approved their proposed Fiscal Year 2021 total budget of $29,998,609 for publication during their May 5 meeting. School Treasurer Ann Bell gave a budget presentation at the meeting beforehand.

Their proposed total budget has an approximate general current expense fund of $26,339,999 and an estimated special revenue fund of $3,658,610. There is no capital projects fund since the current capital projects – the high school Buildings C and D renovations and the Widmyer roof project – will be finished by June 30,  Bell said.

The general current expense fund budget revenue is $1,474,730 higher than it was in Fiscal Year 2019 and the special revenue fund is $835,452 less than last fiscal year. This is due to bus replacement monies, curricular trips funds and Step 7 instructional, technology and advanced placement monies being moved to the general current expense fund from special revenue funds this year because of House Bill 206.

The school board decided to keep the funds in these same categories where they were previously, Bell said.

Budget public hearing

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for the school board’s Tuesday, May 19 meeting which starts at 6 p.m. at the school board office. The budget will be formally adopted later during the meeting.

The school budget is published in today’s edition of The Morgan Messenger and is also posted on the county school website. Paper copies are available at the school board office.

The public can attend the hearing by teleconference, or submit questions and comments prior to the meeting through individual school board members or central office.

Revenue

The general current expense fund revenue includes a projected $5,123,029 in regular school lev

y property taxes, $4,333,023 in special levy taxes, $812,500 in prior year taxes, $9,834,948 in total state aid and an estimated $800,000 carryover fund balance.

Total estimated tax revenue from the combined regular school and special levies is up $181,043 from last year.

Total state aid in the general current expense fund rose $1,334,454 from last year due to House Bill 206 increasing the amount of unrestricted state aid, which was placed in the general current expense fund, Bell said.

However, total state aid for Fiscal Year 2021 fell $348,458 due to the fulltime enrollment (FTE) drop of 75.91 students shown in Bell’s final computations.

Morgan County Schools student enrollment is at 2219 students under the official October 2019 enrollment count. State aid is based on student enrollment numbers.

Budget considerations

Bell said that the school system has 10.80 professional personnel and 14.257 service personnel over the state formula and has 8.25 unfunded professional personnel. Many of those over-the-formula service personnel are aides. That means local dollars pay for the staff salaries rather than them being covered by state education dollars.

The school board also has debt payments to pay, including the CMTA energy management program lease purchase payment of $264,952 and the QZAB no-interest loan payment of $66,666 for the Berkeley Springs High School renovations. Costs for the pre-K/Head Start Collaborative have risen as well as costs for the contracted services of specialists, Bell said. There is also a vehicle replacement cost of $25,000.

Expenditures

COVID-19 expenses for the school system are an unknown. Bell said these expenses coul

d include having to buy more computers or devices for remote learning, depending on how the fall school reopening goes, said school officials.

Estimated school expenditure categories include $15,066,263 for instruction; $2,720,758 for facilities operations and maintenance; $2,097,831 for student transportation; $1,452,215 for student support services; $1,507,131 for school administration; $1,176,072 for instructional staff; $390,487 for central services; and $342,094 for central administration.

Some $20,073,954—76.21% of the school budget—will go toward professional and service personnel salaries, substitute costs, supplemental salaries for coaches, afterschool tutors and extracurricular duties plus benefits including health insurance, retirement benefits, Social Security, Medicare and dental/vision insurance.

Special revenue fund

The $3,658,610 special revenue fund includes Title 1, Title 2 and Title 4 funding, funding for special education, child nutrition, bus replacement, career technical education, alternative education, faculty senates, staff development and the 21st Century Learning grant for the after-school programs.

Special levy

The total estimated revenue of the special levy for Fiscal Year 2021 is $4,333,023 — some $82,958 more than last fiscal year’s estimated special levy revenue.

The special levy call designates $1,904,860 for employee salaries and benefits costs; $1,147,438 for critical educational programs support including alternative education, prevention resources and behavioral, academic and remedial support; $535,000 for facilities maintenance, security and capital improvements; $125,000 for technology hardware, software, infrastructure, repair and training; $400,000 for instructional materials and supplies; and $35,000 for the combined support of the Morgan County Public Library and the Paw Paw Public Library.

Major expenditures

Major proposed general current expense fund expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2021 are $10,066,680 for professional regular salaries, $2,569,807 for service personnel regular salaries, the $2,554,890 unfunded retirement liability, $1,306,050 for health/life insurance premiums, $1,034,400 for Social Security matching, a total of $945,695 for retirement plans, $625,000 for electricity, $600,000 for other professional services and $366,855 for the retiree health benefi

t trust.

Other large school system expenses include $460,760 for purchased services, $325,214 for non-technical repair/maintenance service, $288,937 for professional supplemental salaries, $226,200 for professional substitutes, $192,500 for service personnel substitutes, $204,412 for textbooks, $221,998 for general supplies, $150,000 for diesel vehicle fuel and $149,050 for maintenance supplies.

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