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Officials offer first look at SSD budget

June 6, 2012

By CARL SMITH
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Starkville School District officials unveiled a first glance at an almost $43 million Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget Tuesday during its regular monthly meeting.

The tentative budget, which allocates $42.98 million toward expenses and plans for $43.8 million in revenues, prepares for a $3.2 million shortfall in revenues compared to the previous fiscal year.

SSD Comptroller Rob Logan noted school district officials still have yet to see hard ad valorem figures from the county and said these numbers are due July 1.

“We’re fielding less funding from the state and possibly also from ad valorem,” incoming Superintendent Lewis Holloway said. “We’ve got to come up with the right staffing formula to live within our means.”
Holloway said cuts are possible for the future and, if needed, would be done through attrition. Action toward a millage increase would be a last-resort option, but Holloway said signs show the local economy is improving.

The board has scheduled a public budget hearing for 6 p.m. June 19 and will hold its regular July meeting early at 6 p.m. on June 26 to adopt the incoming fiscal year budget. Trustees will also hold a school board retreat 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Noxubee Refuge’s Larry Box Center. During the retreat, Holloway said the board will discuss longterm plans for facilities, technology and future financing.

Although SSD officials face a more-stringent budget than last year’s, the district plans to bring in two new learning programs, three additional teachers — one at Ward Stewart Elementary and two at Armstrong Middle School — and approximately 25 Smart Boards with its district maintenance fund.

Teachers will begin using Pearson Reading Streets, a language arts program for kindergarten through fifth grade, and Singapore Math, third grade-only, next school year at a projected cost of $245,000. The board approved purchasing textbooks for the programs Tuesday, using a portion of this year’s budget and the incoming budget so teachers will have the necessary materials to begin the school year with the programs. Funding allotted for the programs in FY ’12-’13’s budget will be shifted to cover the district’s FY ’11-’12 impact with the vote.

Without early action, Holloway said teachers would not have the materials by the time school starts. School representatives say both programs constitute highly vetted programs which will better educate students and allow more organization and common-core focus for teachers.
Administrators also tentatively plan to add almost 500 computers and 10 buses over the coming years with a combination of district maintenance, Title 1 and EEF buildings and buses funding.

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