Madison County school leaders expect five furlough — or “amended calendar” days — next school year, but no layoffs are planned. And there will be no tax rate increase to fund school operations.
While there is no reduction in force (RIF) plan in place for this year, the long-term financial outlook for the school system includes some ominous clouds, especially in 2013-2014, when the system’s reserve funds could dip below standard levels.
“We don’t see the rainbow yet,” said school superintendent Dr. Allen McCannon. “We still see more valleys to go through.”
McCannon said he’s been informed by county chief appraiser Robin Baker that the schools should expect a 10 percent reduction in the county digest. That correlates to a 10 percent reduction in local property tax revenues for the school system, a drop of $1.14 million.
Only 24 percent — $9.9 million — of Madison County’s projected $40.8 million budget is funded through local revenues. The state will provide $28.8 million in revenue for county schools for the next school year, including a $1.7 million boost in “equalization funds,” which help level the field between rich and poor school systems. Madison County ranks 161st out of 180 systems in terms of local tax support.
Nevertheless, the school system anticipates total revenues at $38.9 million for 2012-13. That means the schools will have to pull from reserves, which are estimated at $3.8 million to begin the fiscal year to cover the revenue shortfall for the upcoming school year.
Ultimately, the schools expect to start the 2013-14 fiscal year with a reserve balance of $1.86 million. That means a revenue shortfall in the 2013-14 budget could wipe out the reserves.
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