Fulton schools review financial status, future

The Fulton School Board was updated on the district’s current fiscal status and budget outlook during Wednesday night’s regular meeting.

Superintendent Jacque Cowherd made time in the agenda to give board members a clear picture of where Fulton Public Schools stand financially as they prepare to develop the 2011-12 budget in coming months.

He said the good news for the 2010-11 budget, thus far, is that while revenues are down approximately 1.2 percent compared to last year, expenses are also down — by approximately 6 percent.

According to the review Cowherd presented Wednesday, as of Dec. 31, FPS has collected approximately 23 percent of taxes — up 3 percent from the same time in 2009 — collection on the Prop C sales tax is at 52 percent, the state foundation formula is at 51 percent, transportation revenue collection is at 50 percent and federal funding is at 55 percent. On the expenditures side, the percentage used thus far is at 40 percent in the operating fund and the capital budget — which is a bit high because of bond-related construction — is at 62 percent.

The superintendent said all of those numbers are on budget, with the only area of concern being collection of gaming funds, which are lower than expected thus far at 44 percent. Despite that, Cowherd said because of conservative budgeting, the district still is on track financially.

The picture he painted for FY12 — when federal stimulus funding is no longer a part of the district’s revenue — is not as rosy.

Cowherd presented the board with two preliminary estimates for fiscal year 2012 (FY12); one assuming the state funds the foundation formula at 90 percent, the other assuming 83 percent.

Local, county, federal and other revenue is the same in both scenarios: $8.26 million; $324,500; $1.69 million and $8,000 respectively. Estimated state income for the 90 percent scenario is approximately $7.02 million. In the 83 percent funding scenario, that number drops to approximately $1.69 million.

Operating revenue based on 90 percent of the foundation formula for FY12 is approximately $17.31 million. Based on 83 percent of the foundation formula, operating revenue is approximately $16.83 million. With an estimated $18.86 million in expenses, that results a net operations deficit of $1.55 million and $2.03 million respectively.

Using those numbers, Cowherd said the adjustment needed to maintain a 17 percent reserve balance assuming 90 percent funding of the foundation formula for FY12 is $729,845. The adjustment needed for 83 percent funding of the foundation formula is approximately $1.21 million.

Cowherd said more information regarding declining state funding should be available in the next few weeks. He said the board likely will have a special meeting in late February to further discuss the district’s financial outlook.


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