SSISD board expects to leave tax rate unchanged
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug. 30, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs school trustees Monday night approved a $27.4 million budget and indicated they will likely vote to keep the existing tax rate of $1.50465.

A public hearing is tentatively slated within a week of Sept. 12 for any public comment regarding the tax rate. The matter will then be presented for board approval at a special meeting on Sept. 15. District Tax Collector Judy Gregg noted that tax notices will likely be mailed a bit later this year due to delays related to the recent legislative sessions.

School district officials also gave Sherry Garrard, district grants specialist, the nod to submit an application for as much as $21,814 for a Head Start construction grant. If approved, those funds will be added to a $229,320 grant previously awarded the district for construction of additional classrooms at Early Childhood Learning Center.

District officials anticipate having $4,768 after expenses this year, for an overall reserve balance of $4,871,768. This year the district anticipates collecting $27,445,881 in revenues and spending $27,441,113. 

Fiscal year 2004-2005 is expected to conclude Aug. 31 with an estimated $4,862,000 fund balance composed of $3.7 million in the general operating fund, $100,000 in enterprise and $230,000 in food service, $20,0000 in debt service, $800,000 in the worker’s compensation fund and $12,000 in the scholarship fund. 

Reserve funds are important because they provide funds from which districts may draw until state, local and federal sources of revenue come in. These funds may also be used for unexpected expenses, such as rises in gasoline prices or to replace equipment which breaks down during the year.

District officials anticipate revenue to exceed expenditures in only three funds in the 2004-2005 budget: the general operating fund, debt service budget and food service budget.

The general operating fund is expected to bring in $1,639,779 more than the $22,116,826 in estimated costs. The food service budget is expected to bring in $1,599,000 and have $973 left after expenses. The debt service fund is expected to generate $1,028,860 in revenues, while expenses are expected to total $793,450.

Any remaining funds are expected to help offset deficits in five major areas of the budget -- transportation, technical center, co-curricular, technology and worker’s compensation funds.

Transportation is expected to cost $1,214,113, which is $847,592 more than district financial officials anticipate will be collected in revenues for that fund. Student transportation is expected to cost  $1,182,313 for FY 05-06, up from the $1,047,955 spent last year. Transportation to extracurricular and co-curricular activities is also expected to increase by $6,200. General administration and security and monitoring services transportation are expected to remain the same at  $1,500 and $2,000 respectively. While transportation costs rise along with the costs of fuel, the district is expected to receive less funding this year. In FY 2004-2005, the district received $1,000 from local revenue sources and $368,912 from state revenues. This year district officials anticipate receiving only $366,521 from state sources, and no local or federal revenues for transportation.

The budget for Sulphur Springs Higher Education Center is expected to total $159,017, or $56,517 less than it will receive in local revenues. The cost of instruction at the technical center is expected to remain at $14,000, while instructional leadership will increase from $102,724 to $104,789. Plant maintenance and operations, on the other hand, are anticipated at only $40,228,  less than the $66,935 spent in FY 2004-2005.

Co-curricular and extracurricular expenses are expected to total $631,745 which is $549,945 less than is expected to be raised in local revenues to support the fund.

The technology budget is also expected to cost $311,465 more than the $116,165 it is expected to receive from state revenues. 

Technology instruction is expected to cost $371,830, up from the $314,196 spent last year. Technology debt service, on the other hand, is expected to cost $40,552 less this year, dropping from $96,352 last year.

The worker’s compensation fund is also expected to cost $327,875 this year, up $105,875. The district anticipates having $222,000 in local revenues to support this fund, while again spending $16,000 on instructional leadership and $311,875 for general administration. Last year, the district took in $372,500 from local revenues while spending $16,000 on instructional leadership and $318,192 on general administration.

The largest chunk of the budget is the general operating expense fund, with employee pay accounting for most of that budget.

Overall, the district anticipates receiving $23,756,605 for the general operating or day-to-day budget, while expenses are expected to be only $22,116,826 leaving $1,639,779 after expenses.

Of that revenue, $12,324,750 will come from local sources (up from $11,788,575 last year), $11,391,855 from state revenues (down from $11,540,471 last year) and $40,000 from federal sources ($30,000 less than last year.)

The needy children fund, enterprise fund, capital projects fund and scholarship fund will cancel themselves out, with revenues equaling expenses.

The district is also waiting for confirmation of grant approval for $4,030,647 in special revenues.

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