Fulton school board budget in beginning stages

Fulton Board of Education Vice President Fallon Cooper, President Robbin Griffin, and Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Elizabeth Conners, pictured, meet during a budget workshop at Fulton Junior High Tuesday.

FULTON — The Fulton City School District Board of Education’s budget process is in the beginning stages.

The board reviewed the governor’s proposed executive budget, went over an initial roll forward budget and discussed the possibility of a revenue anticipation note during a budget workshop Tuesday.

“Our process is more open and our board involvement is greater than other boards,” Board President Robbin Griffin told The Palladium-Times. “Some of our colleagues in other districts get a report from the superintendent with the data and they roll out a first budget. We’re involved right from the beginning.”

The board, which held its first budget workshop Dec. 10 to set the budget parameters, took a look at the school aid in the governor’s proposed budget. Those numbers include a 3.26 percent increase in total aid to more than $51 million for the district.

“This helps drive now where the revenue comes from to meet those expenditures. Then it’s a balancing act,” Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Elizabeth Conners said. “Do we have to make any changes in our spending plan? Are there places where we can get additional revenues?”

The board then went through an initial roll forward budget, which used last year’s budget as a base and added in 3.37 percent in increases due to enrollment, health care costs, contract obligations, anticipated retirement fund increases, changes in the minimum wage and other factors.

The 3.37 percent increase brought the estimated budget from about $73.4 million to $75.8 million.

“We’re rolling it forward based on our student numbers,” Griffin said. “We’ve already received that report with the anticipated enrollment numbers. … That’s where the numbers are derived from.”

The board also discussed the possibility of applying for a revenue anticipation note, a short-term loan to help with cash flow before aid money arrives from the state. With a couple of board members absent from the meeting Tuesday, Griffin requested the board wait to make a decision until everyone was in attendance.

The board will hear a report at its next meeting Feb. 12 on transportation and food service.

Conners and Griffin cautioned that this is just the beginning of the process and there are still many adjustments to be made and tweaking to do ahead of the budget vote on May 19.

“Our intent is to stay with our program if we can afford to — that’s the big if — and that’s every year,” Griffin said. “Every year we hold our breath hoping we can maintain our programs.”

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