Was it a form of buck fever grabbing hold of the four trustees? Was it their inattention? Or was it plain ol' disbelief?
Whatever the cause, members of the Yazoo County school board had to be shaken out of their trance Tuesday evening after Financial Officer Lisa Worthy announced that the Yazoo County School District had managed to sock away approximately $2.75 million more than anticipated during the recently completed FY2015 budget year. That's $2.75 million in addition to the projected $2.6 million.
“Once we got everything finalized, we came out with a June 30, 2015 fund balance of $5.4 million,” Worthy said of the amended FY2015 budget. “Now, the original (FY2015) budget was projected to only have a fund balance of $2.6 million. So, we did much better than we anticipated. That's approximately $2.75 million more that we were able to save than what we had originally budgeted.”
Following her announcement, the trustees sat silently for 20 or 30 seconds before Board President Greg Mosley called for a motion to approve the amended FY2015 budget. Trustee John Newton provided the motion which was seconded and followed by a unanimous “yea” vote.
Following the vote, Worthy updated the trustees on the district's tax request.
“We had our four percent increase but we knew we had some debt that was going to be (paid off),” she said. “So, in FY2015, our total mills was 43.10 and in FY2016 they're 43.14. We only went up .04 mills. The value per mill went up about $10,000.”
“That's very good news. We hope you're as excited as we are,” Superintendent Becky Fisher said, visibly surprised at the trustees' lack of response. “We worked so hard.”
In other county school district news, the trustees responded to the 2016 School Board Legislative Survey. With the survey being sent to all school board presidents and superintendents, the information will assist the Mississippi School Board Association direct its lobbying efforts during the 2016 legislative session.
The following are their responses to the survey:
• Oppose legislation that would provide an income tax deduction for parents who send their children to private schools or home schools.
• Oppose legislation that would create a Tax Credit Scholarship Act allowing people to make tax deductible donations to a qualifying scholarship organization that provides scholarships to students who attend K-12 nonpublic schools.
• Support legislation requiring charter schools to follow the student discipline statutes of the state of Mississippi.
• Oppose legislation allowing student vouchers to be funded with MAEP money.
• Oppose legislation allowing students of poverty who are attending a C, D, or F school to transfer to an A or B school.
• Oppose legislation allowing money to be diverted from public schools to nonpublic schools, home schools, or virtual schools by means of vouchers, tuition tax credits, or scholarships.
• Support the continued implementation of the Mississippi College and Career Ready standards.
• Support legislation changing the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) funding formula from average daily attendance to total enrollment.
• Oppose legislation changing the way the MAEP funding formula is determined, thus reducing the amount of state money provided for public education through MAEP.
• Support legislation to fully fund MAEP.
• Support legislation requiring school districts to transition from an elected to an appointed superintendent.
• Support legislation requiring all school board members to be elected.
• Oppose legislation changing the school board election laws so that all school board members will stand for election/re-election, appointment/reappointment in the same election.
• Oppose legislation allowing public charter schools in districts with successful accreditation ratings of A, B or C.
• Oppose legislation allowing “for profit” charter schools to operate in Mississippi.
• Oppose legislation allowing school boards the local control to design administrator/teacher/staff performance-based incentive packages.
• Oppose legislation restricting local control of school boards.
• Support legislation creating a structured, statewide approach to quality early childhood education.
• Oppose legislation consolidating school districts that have chronically failing schools.
• Oppose legislation consolidating school districts based on the number of school districts within the county.
• Oppose legislation consolidating school districts based on student enrollment.
• Oppose legislation removing school boards from the school personnel hiring process.
• Asked, “What are your board's top one or two legislative concerns?” the trustees listed their wish that the Legislature would fully fund the state's schools, and that the Legislature would provide more funding for transportation based upon mileage demands.