Monroe County Schools financial director Chris Johnson told the Board of Education at its March 9 meeting that he was initially a little concerned as he prepared the financial report that local revenues were behind what they should be at this time of year. Then he got a call from the Monroe County tax commissioner earlier that day to pick up checks totaling $2.7 million.
Johnson said he breathed a sigh of relief as he recalculated the school system’s receipt of local revenue and found it to be 94.5 percent of what was budgeted for the fiscal year, which runs from July to June.
“We have what we need going forward,” said Johnson. “Probably there was a delay in transmission of funds.”
Johnson said he expects the state’s mid-term adjustment of funds allowed Monroe County, which is based on number of students enrolled, to go up. Johnson said the school system’s February SPLOST receipt was less than recent years but was greater than $400,000. The school system’s expenses are running a little less than last year, at 56.2 percent of the budgeted amount compared to 57.6 percent at the end of February last year.
Johnson said the budget hasn’t been adjusted yet to show the funds Monroe County Schools got from CARES Act 1, but that should be done by next month. The budget will also be adjusted to show money from CARES Act 2 as the school system develops a clearer idea of how it well allocate the money between internet, remediation, cleaning systems for air in the buildings, etc.
The budget adopted for the 2020-21 fiscal year was $44.2 million. The budget for capital projects is $4.75 million.
Superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman said he is waiting for direction, which he expects to get after March 25, from the state Board of Education regarding the $1,000 supplement the governor promised educators. He said such supplements have typically been for teachers but he recommends Monroe County Board of Education “look after all employees.”
“We have a lot outside of that umbrella,” said Hickman. “All have worked hard during the whole year.”
He said when more questions about the state supplement are answered, he will bring information to the board on how many employees aren’t covered and possible sources to fund supplements for them locally.
Hickman said Monroe County Schools will be using CARES funds to help close gaps in learning for students that have been online. He said there will be programs this summer and remediation programs next year.
“I am really concerned with early elementary students,” said Hickman. “Our kids are in a lot of different places. We have to think outside the box.”
He said as grades 6-12 have the chance to return to in-person classes five days per week on March 15, about 739 students have chosen to continue on-line learning.