Proposed BOE budget dips $11 million into savings

JONESBORO — Clayton County Public Schools will fall $11 million short in revenues, according to a proposed budget that includes 10 percent in expense cuts.

Business Services Director Lonita Collier presented the school board with a draft of the district’s fiscal year 2014 budget Monday. Her proposal was to balance the budget at $348 million, significantly higher than this year’s nearly $328 million budget.

The heftier budget, she said, is due to increased costs in benefits and costs associated with growth.

Collier said the district added $11 million to its general fund balance this year — built up since fiscal year 2010, from $15 million to about $45 million.

However, officials created the rainy-day buffer only to have to spend almost $13 million in increased operating costs, which would require officials take $11 million from the fund balance.

The district will spend $6 million more in health insurance costs and $3.6 million on its share of teacher retirement benefits, she said.

Other expenses are related to growth.

Collier said about $1 million will pay for additional supplies next year. Another $2.2 million will fund three new elementary school assistant principals, 17 kindergarten paraprofessionals and 20 middle school teachers.

Interim Superintendent Luvenia Jackson plans to present her preliminary budget recommendation to the board May 6. Public hearings are planned for the budget proposal May 9 and May 16. The board is slated to adopt a tentative budget May 28.