The school system lost just over $1.4 million in revenue from the previous financial year due to declining enrollment. Board member Bill Robison asked if that was going to mean lost services for students. Jimmie Thompson, chief school financial officer, said the system wasn’t losing much of anything. Superintendent Joan Frazier explained further that she had worked around the losses to maintain the teacher-student ratios.
“In terms of ratio, if you play your cards correctly you usually break about even and that’s where I see us at this point,” Frazier said.
The budget as written contains a $600,000 deficit, but Thompson said he expects the deficit to disappear over the year as unspent money is carried over from the current budget to fiscal 2013 and other miscellaneous allocations are made during the year.
“We’re going to amend again,” Thompson said. “We’ll get more allocations and we’ll make changes after we close the financial statement because we’re going to have carryover money.”
The system has asked the City Council for money to pay for teachers and technology in new welding and cosmetology programs, Thompson said. That requested funding has not been included in the budget approved by the board and won’t be, Thompson said, unless the council approves the request.
“We do the budget based on conservative estimate of revenue,” Frazier said. “What we’ve always been able to do in the past three years-plus is have more revenue than our budget is based on.”
The system can amend the budget up to twice in one fiscal year, Thompson said.
“My biggest concern is that we give the students what they need to be successful,” said board member Arthur Cottingham, who requested the system add more reading teachers in the schools. “And we know that reading is one of the needs.”
In other business, the board:
— Approved a five-year capital improvement plan updated for fiscal 2013.
— Approved advertising for a new pre-kindergarten teacher to meet increased demand. However, the interview phase of the hiring process in contingent on receiving federal funds to pay for the position.
The board will have a work session on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.