New SOCSD board member Wes Gordon, right, is sworn in by Notary Public Emily Ward prior to the district's 2019-2020 budget hearing Tuesday evening.

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School district Board of Trustees held a public hearing for its 2019- 2020 budget Tuesday evening, and the district’s fund balance is projected to increase for the fifth year.

The district’s Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) allotment for the upcoming school year is $22,794,905, an increase of $323,194 over last year. Its projected ad valorem tax request including estimated amounts for July, August and September is $21,856,757. The ad valorem includes $371,296 of homestead exemption and $21,851,964 of ad valorem. Its debt service request is $4,040,485, with $823,188 in debt service funds. Funds needed for debt payments within Oktibbeha County’s tax year, but after the end of the district’s fiscal year amount to $634,744, bringing the total ad valorem request to $26,667,794.

“The increase in the mill value should be sufficient to cover that request without us having to request an increase in the ad valorem,” said SOCSD Chief Financial Officer Tammie McGarr. “Any increase that is in this request should be completely covered by the mill value.”

She said the district was not requesting any increases.

“The mill value increased approximately 4.17% from the prior year based on new property that was added to the tax roll,” McGarr said. “The net effect is that the increase in mill value should cover the request without the levying authority having to increase the number of mills levied.”

The district’s projected 2020 fund balance is $12 million, up from $10,252,970 in 2018 and $4,212,764 in 2016.

In addition to the MAEP allotment, the district will receive $551,276 for the $1,500 pay raises for teachers and other employees approved by the Mississippi State Legislature.

“That is all that I have included in the budget,” McGarr said. “They have since come back and amended that based on the recalculation of the number of teacher units we had, so they are giving us that in a monthly allocation. For the month of July, they did give us $67,887 for that teacher and teacher assistant allocation.”

McGarr said if the state continued to pay that the same rate, it would be an additional $263,368 for the district.

The district’s projected expenditures for the 2019-2020 total $67,936,196. Of the projected expenditures $30,379,974 is slated for instruction, $20,496,682 for support services, $6,041,712 for noninstructional services, $117,220 for 16th section and $3,689,250 for debt service.

The budget next goes to the school board for approval.

In addition to the budget hearing, new school board member Wes Gordon was sworn in by Notary Public Emily Ward.


For more on this story, read Wednesday's Starkville Daily News. 

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