NASD hosting public hearing for budget discussions

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Natchez-Adams County residents will have an opportunity today to give the school district feedback and voice their opinions regarding the district’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Natchez-Adams School District board of trustees will host a public hearing at 4 p.m. today at Braden Administrative building, located at 10 Homochitto St.

“What I hope to see is a good turnout, because we want to give people the opportunity to be heard and to be involved,” board President Wayne Barnett said. “The point of the hearing is that it’s an opportunity to hear what we’re planning on doing, talk about financial issues and things of that nature.”

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The district’s proposed budget has a total projected revenue of $36,630,562. Of that amount, approximately 30 percent — or $12 million — will be financed through ad valorem taxes.

The district’s request, which was approved by board members on June 20, is an increase of $313,347 from the $11,686,653 the district requested this year. Once the board advertises an amount, it can’t request more than what’s advertised, but it can request less.

Business manager Margaret Parson said she will provide copies of the district’s budget for those attending and give a general overview of the district’s revenues and expenditures.

“We’re making up-to-the-minute changes, but we’ll be ready by (today),” Parson said.

Apart from agreeing to request additional funds from taxpayers, the board also asked Superintendent Frederick Hill to cut a minimum of $95,141 to balance the district’s budget, which included a $408,488 deficit.

At the last board meeting, Hill presented the board with a list of $617,537.50 in potential cuts that included reducing district travel and not filling current vacation positions, among other things.

Board members directed Hill to present a balanced budget including an undetermined amount of cuts for final approval at the board’s July 11 meeting.

However, the board hopes to push that meeting back a week.

The board will host a specially called meeting at 3:45 p.m. today to request moving the July 11 meeting to July 18.

Barnett said the board and administrators needed more time to get things on the agenda because of the Fourth of July holiday.

“What I hope to see at the July board meeting is a proposal for a budget that will accommodate the boys and girls of Adams County and will provide the kind of education our children deserve, while still taking into consideration the taxpayers,” Barnett said.