The Liberty County School System is going forward with a budget for its coming fiscal year that calls for nearly $139.6 million in spending, and $135.6 in revenue.
The school system anticipates having $25 million in fund balance and expects to use some of that to cover the difference between revenue’s and expenditures.
“The efficiency of district operations over the past few years has enabled us to retain a fund balance which is sufficient to cover the expenditures over revenues for the 2024 budget,” said schools Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry.
State funding is expected to provide $80.6 million, and local property tax proceeds are projected to bring in about $27 million. Federal funding is budgeted to account for just over $26 million.
The bulk of the school board’s spending, more than 60%, is in instruction. That total is more than $86 million.
The system also projects to spend more than $10 million in pupil services and more than $8.8 million on maintenance and operations.
School nutrition services are expected to cost just under $8 million for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1, and transportation is projected to cost more than $6.5 million.
The state is expected to provide most of the funding for the system’s revenue, about $80 million. Local property taxes are expected to generate nearly $27.1 million in revenue and federal sources, such as impact aid, are budgeted to bring in about $26 million.
Board members approved the budget in a 6-1 vote.
Finance director Stephanie Clark pointed out the budget is approved by functions and not by line items.
“Any line items are subject to change,” she told board members.
The FY 23 budget was approximately $137.8 million in spending.
The system is increasing pay for classified employees on a rotating basis. Nearly 1,400 people, through classified and certified positions, are employed by the school system. Salaries for paraprofessionals, for instance, were adjusted last year and are in the rotation for increases in the future. About 170 school system employees earn less than $15 per hour The school system also has been hit with higher insurance costs for some of its employees and for making up the gap from what the federal government pays for the Bright From the Start pre-kindergarten program and its actual cost.
Also on tap for expenditures are new textbooks to be adopted and purchased.