By CARL SMITH
Starkville School District trustees unanimously approved the systemâ€™s almost-$43 million operating budget Tuesday following little discussion.
Since the beginning of the month, Comptroller Rob Logan continuously provided trustees with updated figures and numbers as the district approached July 1, the start of the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Loganâ€™s final report included small adjustments which he says the district will easily absorb.
The districtâ€™s budget projects a little over $42 million toward expenses and $43.75 million in revenues.
In a previous report, Logan said the district expects to receive $16.77 million from Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding, an increase of $403,027 from last year. In comparison, the district received a similar amount for the 2010-2011 fiscal year: $16.69 million. Total projected revenues for the upcoming school year â€” a figure which includes local, intermediate, state, federal, 16th section and other financing sources â€” totals $43.75 million, while the district expects to spend $42.42 million.
Logan is still awaiting ad valorem tax figures for the county, a figure which could affect millage rates in the future. Previous reports stated the district requires 62.96 mills in 2013 for increased bond payments. The rate is .72 mills higher than 2012.
The forecasted figure ranks below the median of past SSD millage rates since 2001. Previous budget reports stated 67.66 mills were levied in 2002, while the district only needed 58.86 mills from 2003 to 2008, with exception to 2005.
Last week, the district issued a statement saying officials do not predict a millage increase if tax collection remains at current levels.
With its incoming budget, the district will add teaching positions, learning systems, electronic devices and buses, while funding Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments for kindergarten to third grade.
In other board business, the district approved new handbooks for teachers, employees and child nutrition workers. One change in the districtâ€™s handbooks includes allowing travel in district-owned vans. Previously, the district only used buses for transportation due to insurance concerns, but Superintendent Lewis Holloway said the school system should take advantage of its property. Board Attorney Dalton McAlpin said all school vehicles, including vans, are covered under the districtâ€™s insurance policy. The change was approved unanimously.