Breaking their 12-year tradition, the Yazoo County School District is asking local residents and businesses for a four percent increase in funding for the district's operations for next year.
“Not four mils, but four percent,” Superintendent Becky Fisher emphasized during last Thursday's budget hearing.
Fisher said the school district has cut expenses in every way possible.
“We have cut, and we have cut, and we have cut,” she said, as she began the review of the proposed budget that calls for $18,080,107 in revenues and $18,648,124 in expenses.
While the expenses exceed total revenue figures by $568,017, that's $759,961 short of last year's deficit of $1,327,978. If the district can't spend less than the projected expenditures listed in the budget, they will have to go into the fund balance, which is something of a savings account, to make up the difference.
“Our deficit has decreased by almost $760,00 because of the good work that you're doing, the areas where you've agreed with us where we need to cut,” she told the trustees. “We don't have an expenditure problem any more because I don't know what else to cut. Right now, we have a revenue problem.... “We can thank the (Mississippi) legislature because they have not fully funded us in over 12 years.”
The school district is asking for an increase of $210,377, which will increase the school district's total millage from the current 43.10 mils to 44.82 mils. Due to the school district's funding request, county residents will see an tax increase of approximately $20 on a house valued at $100,000. Increases in land and auto taxes are more difficult to compute due to varieties in land use and soil quality, and the values of vehicles.
The proposed budget calls for $6,365,812 in revenue from local sources compared to FY2015's $5,832,928 from local sources. State revenue sources total $7,720,900 compared to last year's $7,355,039. The district is counting on receiving $2,833,316 from federal sources in FY2016 compared to last year's $2,828,680. Sixteenth Section revenues are projected to bring in $1,160,079 compared to the $692,293 in the current fiscal year.
Local revenue sources comprise 35 percent of the projected FY2016 budget; 43 percent of the district's revenue will come from state sources; federal sources will contribute 16 percent of the total revenue; and 16th Section will contribute six percent.
Total revenues for the FY2016 budget are projected at $18,080,107 compared to $16,906,068, or a difference of an increase of $1,174,039.
Leading into the expenditures segment of the projected budget, Fisher said, “Because we are in the education business, the highest (expenditure) amount in our budget would be salaries and supplies. That's what we're in the business of.”
Teacher salaries and salaries of support services personnel and supplies are projected to total $16,705,651 compared to $16,118,176 last year. Non instruction items, including food service, 16th Section expenses, debt service and construction are projected at $1,942,473 compared to $2,115,870 in the current fiscal year.
Instruction-related expenses will total 90 percent of the FY2016 budget and non-instructional expenses, 10 percent.
“Our teachers are some of the lowest paid teachers in this state,” she said. “Other districts offer huge amounts of increments for them to get them to come (to teach in their district) because they have a high tax base. We're losing teachers because of that.”