SOCSD anticipates tight 2018-2019 budget

Staff Writer

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees began its work on the district’s 2018-2019 budget Tuesday night.

Chief Financial Officer Tammie McGarr went through the draft budget line-by-line with the board, to give them the opportunity to ask questions and understand the upcoming year’s budget. As the budget was handled in a work session, no action was taken. A public budget hearing will be scheduled for July, and the budget will likely be approved in August. The projected budget is $44,357,160, a three percent increase from last year.

However, McGarr still emphasized it would remain a tight budget. During the budgeting process, McGarr cut each department by 10 percent, following a similar formula as the 2017-2018 budget.

However, transportation and maintenance were only cut one and five percent, respectively, as it is more difficult to deny those departments resources. McGarr also said she anticipated an increase in ad valorem tax funds, but would not be sure until the first week of July, when Oktibbeha County’s millage rate is known.

“They are doing a reappraisal, which usually means a pretty good increase,” McGarr said. “I’m just increasing it by four percent. Last year, our increase from the prior year was 4.5 percent.”

Currently, the district’s 2018-2019 Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) allocation is listed at $22,471,711, an increase from last year, but still not making up the decrease in last year’s MAEP allocation.

“We only increased by $106,000, which is very, very low,” McGarr said of the MAEP allocation. “That is a decreaseactually from last year, for our operating expenses. The reason it’s a decrease is because last year, part of our MAEP was allocated to pay off some debt that we had in prior years. That debt was actually paid off last year.”

McGarr said the MAEP allocation also decreased because of a decline in the district’s average daily attendance.

“If we can get that up next year, hopefully that will increase,” McGarr said.

Last year’s budget was $43,103,032.

The board also unanimously tabled the construction of a new jumbotron serving both the SHS football and baseball fields so Board Attorney John Hill could look at the documents. The proposed jumbotron would cost $900,000, with fundraising handled by Complete Solutions. The fundraising and construction of the jumbotron would be done at no cost to the district.

“If we were able to pull this off, it would be one of a kind,” said Athletic Director Cheyenne Trussell