School board begins arduous budget process

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2001

Members of the Natchez-Adams School Board spent more than five hours Thursday working on a budget for the 2001-02 school year.

Final budget numbers are not yet available but last year’s budget was close to $40 million including all sources such as federal, state and local.

About 27 percent of that money came from local sources, such as the local property tax.

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The Natchez-Adams School District has held a stable tax rate in recent years and it has not made a decision about an increase for the upcoming year, said Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

When drawing up the budget, issues such as less funding from the state must be taken into consideration, Davis said.

&uot;We have a problem with the (state) deficit that we’re looking to have to deal with next year,&uot;

Districts have been told to estimate cuts of one, three or five percent.

&uot;We don’t know what the state’s going to do. Nobody knows,&uot; Davis said. &uot;There’s the possibility it’s not going to happen or it’s not going to be as drastic.&uot;

A three percent cut equals about $500,000 to the district. It lost $142,000 in state funding this year, Davis said.

The district also has to consider increases in utilities expenses in the proposed budget.

&uot;We can’t calculate right now what the energy (expenses are) going to be,&uot; Davis said.

But if the current year is any indication &uot;after Christmas it really doubled almost.&uot;

Bus accidents may also cause an increase in the district’s transportation insurance, he said.

Personnel needs, the outcome of a statewide wage and hours lawsuit that involves the district are other issues that must be considered in the budget, Davis said.

&uot;I suggested and (the board members) agreed that our programs are the last thing we need to cut,&uot; Davis said.

He also asked the board members to consider raises of one-half to one and a half percent for uncertified staff but the board did not make a decision. The increase coincides with an increase certified staff received from the state for the upcoming year. The district will hold a public hearing on the budget on July 5 and will vote for its final approval on July 12 during its regular monthly board meeting.

The board has to provide the budget to the state and to the Adams County Board of Supervisors by August 15.