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Sylacauga City Board of Education members are (from left) Amy Price, Dr. Rekha Chadalawada, Dr. Steve Marlowe, Janean Crawford (president) and Melissa Garris (vice president).

 

SYLACAUGA -- The City Board of Education approved an $18.3 million general fund budget Tuesday night as concerns continued over dropping student enrollment.

Following the required second hearing, the board unanimously OK’d the budget for FY2019.

The general fund budget analysis from Lisa Dickerson, chief financial officer for the board, has revenues of $18,328,452. State and local revenues account for 97.7 percent of the budget.

Expenditures were the same as revenues, and of this amount, 78.4 percent goes for instructional services and support services for pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

The beginning fund balance for Oct. 1, 2019, will be $1,940,000.

Of the $18,328,452 budget, $15,625,321 is for salaries and benefits, making up a total of 85 percent of the system’s operating costs.

The pay increase of 2.5 percent for all employees in the school system totaled $365,000.

Some notable items in the budget include a decrease in substitute costs from 2018, while Central Office costs for administrators and support personnel rose. Superintendent Dr. Jon Segars said he was taking a look at the Central Office costs.

Dickerson gave an analysis of the declining enrollment in Sylacauga dating back to 2014. At that time, enrollment was 2,294 students, compared to 2,135 now.

She explained the loss of students was not just a Sylacauga City school system problem. “It’s a county problem and a state problem,” she said.

Dickerson cited enrollment figures dating back for the three systems in the county to 2007. Talladega County Schools from 2007 to the 2018 school year lost 473 students; Sylacauga, 275; and Talladega City, 666.

The state total was even more dramatic, as enrollment in Alabama public schools decreased by 13,031 students.

Sylacauga lost state funding for 3.5 teacher units in FY 2019 due to the drop in ADM (Average Daily Membership). ADM is what state funding is based on, and that loss to the system for those teacher units was $250,000.

Segars said those teacher units will be funded using local revenues. Segars said following the last budget hearing he was working with the City Council on finding a solution to improving school enrollment.

The public can view the budget documents on the school system’s website at www.sylacauga.k12.al.us, under Board of Education meetings.

See Thursday’s edition of The Daily Home for further coverage of Tuesday’s school board meeting.

 

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