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Lafayette County School Board releases proposed 2019 budget

Lafayette County School District has released its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

In a special-called meeting on Monday night, LCSD school board members held a public budget hearing, during which they discussed various changes in revenue and expenditures for fiscal year 2019.

The total expected revenue for LCSD will be $28,869,957. Fifty-two percent of that sum will come from state sources, such as Chickasaw Session funds and MAEP. Thirty-nine percent will come from local revenue, such as ad valorem taxes, gate receipts and fundraisers. Nine percent of the district’s operational revenues will come from federal sources, such as e-rate, TVA in lieu and TVRHA.

LCSD saw an increase in MAEP funding for the upcoming fiscal year, something business manager Mark Brown said was tallied by measuring the school’s Average Daily Attendance, or ADA.

“We also had an increase in what we receive from the state, the MAEP, at $573,000. That is based on our Average Daily Attendance,” Brown said. “This increase probably would have been larger than what it was. There’s a period of time that they measure our average daily attendance. Lo and behold, when the flu hit us hard, I know there was a week where we averaged over 300 students a day with the flu and there was nothing we could do about it. That affected ADA to some degree.”

There is also an increase in Chickasaw Session funds coming in, totalling $27,424.

In terms of expenditures, Brown explained that an increase in student population automatically increases the amount of money the district spends. Operational expenditures for the coming year total $29,060,875. However, Brown said the deficit was due to approximately $270,000 in leftover 3 Mill funds, which are being used to install a HVAC unit at Lafayette Middle School.

The fiscal year 2019 budget reflects a $190,918 increase in expenditures from last year, and a $61,930 increase in revenue above expenses for debt retirement.

Other expenditures of note include $315,000 for six additional teaching positions, and a $19 per-person increase in health insurance for the district beginning Jan. 1, 2019, which will cost approximately $45,000. LCSD also added three more modular classrooms to accommodate the growing student population.

At $21,802,537, salaries and benefits make up 75 percent of the proposed fiscal year 2019 expenditures, something LCSD Superintendent Brian Pugh said he found surprising.

“I was a little bit surprised that our salaries did not take up more of the budget,” Pugh said. “Usually it’s about 80 percent.”

Members of the LCSD school board will bring the proposed budget to a vote during their next meeting, which will take place on August 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the district board room.