The McDuffie County Board of Education held the first of two virtual public hearings on its trimmed down, tentative budget for fiscal year 2021 the morning of June 4. The next and final budget hearing will be held at 5 p.m. June 11 via teleconference. The school board is scheduled to adopt its FY21 budget on June 18 during a regular meeting at 6 p.m. at Thomson High School.
No one from the public asked any questions during the June 4 hearing.
McDuffie School Superintendent Dr. Mychele Rhodes informed school board members that according to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office, funding cuts to public schools would amount to about 11 percent in reductions. School administrators had previously been told to expect a 14 percent cut in state funds.
“This is certainly good news for us as well as for other state agencies,” Dr. Rhodes said.
System Comptroller Charisa Carter presented the tentative FY21 budget with a general fund balance currently set at $50,244,805.
Carter reminded school board members that school system finance departments do not yet have confirmed numbers from the state to work with, such as monies based on the QBE (Quality Basic Education Act) equation. QBE determines a district’s funding amount based on its total number of students. Then a district’s local “fair share” is subtracted, before a system receives its QBE earnings, according to gbpi.org.
Carter said the QBE allotment makes up about 70 percent of school revenue.
She also highlighted proposed reductions in the tentative budget from last year to this year.
Salaries and benefits could be reduced by $638,634 and Title I allotments could be decreased by $125,605. Salaries and benefits make up 89.6 percent of the district’s budget expenditures, according to Carter.
She added that a $200,000 longevity supplement could also be removed from the budget, and added back later should finances improve.
Transportation and maintenance contingencies in the amounts of $21,350 and $108,933 respectively were also part of budget revisions, according to the school system comptroller.
“We don’t know what will happen during the year with prices of fuel or energy,” Carter said, reiterating that the budget could be adjusted later based on fuel and energy price fluctuations.
The Software to Title I cost in the amount of $143,000 and the current excess revenue over expenditures in the amount of $56,137 was also removed from the tentative budget. The total general fund reduction made was $1,168,054, according to Carter.
Citizens can find instructions to log onto the next teleconference hearing on the school system’s website at www.mcduffie.k12.ga.us. Click on District, then on Board of Education, then on Board Meeting Agendas/Meetings at the far right. Once on the Meetings Listing page, click on the date of the hearing – June 11 – for the agenda. Click on Call to Order for log on instructions.