Anniston’s school board on Wednesday approved a $23.1 million budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, but not without hearing complaints about a lack of public comment.
The system will work with a deficit of about $750,000, mostly because of credit taken out to cover a state-mandated one-month operating reserve, said Anniston City Schools finance director Jimmie Thompson.
The budget projects the school system will get $12.2 million, more than half its revenue, from the state government and a local match, largely based on its student enrollment. Another $4.7 million comes from the federal government, much of that determined by the number of students who qualify for subsidies for school meals, and $4.1 million from local sources, mostly raised by local taxes.
While Thompson presented the budget, one audience member indicated she had a question, but Thompson said officials would only take written questions and comments, to which they would reply in writing.
After the presentation, Superintendent Darren Douthitt told another audience member that the board would not take public comments — something many in the audience disapproved of.
Board member Trudy Munford said she would research the issue and report back to the public at the next meeting.
“Because we benefit from what you have to say,” she said.
The budget approved Wednesday includes a $340,000 allocation from the city of Anniston, with $40,000 going toward an after-school program and the rest paying for the district’s technology initiative. City officials agreed to give the schools the extra money after months of debate.
Anniston’s council has dealt with its own budget issues, with a proposed $37.9 million in spending, nearly $100,000 less than last year. Total expected revenues reflect a similar decrease, with about $37.8 million predicted, or about $91,000 less than in 2017.
In other business, the board:
- Approved personnel recommendations. Douthitt said the recommendations included one resignation, but he declined to name the employee until he or she had been notified of the board’s vote.
- Approved a proclamation for September as Attendance Awareness Month.
- Heard from board member Becky Brown that crews are working on a new material for Anniston High’s track that would be safer for students. She said the money for the project came from a grant.