County schools approve better, stronger budget

Published 10:57pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

By Josh Bergeron

The Selma Times-Journal

 

The Dallas County Board of Education has approved a $39 million budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The budget projects $26.8 million in total revenues and $26.4 million in expenditures, leaving the county school system with a surplus of slightly less than $400,000.

Superintendent Don Willingham said the excess funds will be used to bolster reserves to the state required minimum of one month of operating expenses, which would be $2 million for Dallas County School System.

“Our budget was helped out tremendously by the half-cent sales tax increase,” Willingham said. The tax was a sales tax increase approved by the Dallas County Commission in January. “Our goal is to continue increasing reserves, which should take about four years, if everything keeps running the same.”

At the end of fiscal year 2014, which ends on Sept. 30, 2014, the school system projects a reserve of $573,116.78.

The increase revenue will not only allow the county school system to operate in the black next fiscal year, but also allowed the system to operate on a surplus during fiscal year 2013.

“If you look at last year’s budget, you’ll see that we projected almost a $1 million deficit,” chief finance officer Brenda Turner said. “The half-cent tax was a positive thing for us.”

The largest expense for Dallas County School System next year is projected to be instructional services, which includes employee salaries, at $14.4 million. The second largest expense is projected to be instructional support services.

The school system is projected to generate approximately $2.3 million more in revenue and spend $837,418.29 more than fiscal year 2013, according to the budget.

The projected increase in revenue can be attributed to the tax increase, Willingham said.

“We projected that it would increase revenue by about $2 million, but realistically we think it will bring in about $1.6 million in extra money,” he said.

 

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