Monroe County Schools are in good shape financially, according to Assistant Superintendent Jackson Daniel’s report to the Board of Education on June 9. Daniel said the school system has gotten $23.7 million in local revenue for fiscal year 2020, which is 7 percent more than it expected in its budget. Daniel said $257,000 came in on June 8, and he expects to receive more local revenue.
The school system’s fiscal year begins on July 1. The 2019-20 budget anticipated $23.3 million in local revenue, which is what the school system gets from local property taxes.The remainder of revenue is from the state and federal government. Federal revenue is primarily reimbursement for things like school lunches and is paid back to the school system in exact amounts after it is spent. For 2020 Monroe County Schools have received $54,452 in federal funds, which is 77.8 percent of what it expects to get.
Monroe County Schools have gotten $15.9 million from the state, which is 80.7 percent of the $19.7 million it anticipates for FY2020. Because it won’t be able to adopt a new budget before July 1, the school board adopted a spending resolution that will let it spend one-twelfth of its budget during the next month to cover expenses in July. Salaries for teachers and other 10-month employees are paid over 12 months.
Daniel said revenue for May from the E-SPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), which is 1 percent of sales in Monroe County, was good. He said tax assessment notices went out to Monroe County property owners on June 8 and showed a growth in property values in the county of about 2.5 percent, which will increase the local revenue the school system receives from taxes unless the millage rate is rolled back.
Daniel said Georgia is expected to reduce mandatory budget cuts from 14 percent to 11 percent, which will mean $600,000 for Monroe County. He said he isn’t sure whether the General Assembly will change anything on the 5 mill tax equalization share that Monroe County pays to equalize revenue between poorer and wealthier school districts, which is about $7 million for Monroe County. Superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman said at the Board of Health meeting on June 8 that Monroe County Schools received $570,000 from the state for COVID-10 response.
The May 31 financial report said Monroe County Schools spent about $800 more on natural gas than it had by May 31, 2019, spent about $40,200 less on electricity than by May 31, 2019 and spent $125,602 less on fuel than at the same time last year.
The May 31 report showed the Monroe County school system has received 91.5 percent of revenue and paid out 81.4 percent of budgeted expenses in its $43.9 million operations budget.
price of meals
Daniel recommended the board increase the prices of student meals 10 cents each for FY2021 and increase the price of adult meals at the schools from $2.75 to $3.50 for breakfast and from $3.75 to $4.50 for lunch. Breakfast prices will go up from $1.40 to $1.50 for elementary students and from $1.70 to $1.80 for middle and high school students. The price of lunches for elementary students will rise from $2.45 to $2.55 and lunch prices for middle and high school students will rise from $2.70 to $2.80. The reduced price for all student meals will stay at 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch.
Daniel said the school system is required to get the price paid for adult meals closer to the actual cost of the food. The school system also has to reconcile the difference between the cost of free and reduced price meals with meals children buy, which is $3.09. He said going up 10 cents per year keeps the gap closer.
Board member Eva Bilderback said when she has lunch at school with her daughter she watches students put most of their school meals in the trash. She said that when board members tried menu items for school meals at Georgia School Board Association meetings, she found the items good enough to eat.
“There have been complaints about school food forever,” said BOE Chair Nolen Howard.
Board member Greg Head asked it the costs of food would be going up for the school system since the cost of groceries has been going up. Daniel said the school system has contracts for two years on food items and that the increasing cost of food is somewhat balanced by decreasing delivery costs.
The motion to approve the meal cost increases passed, 5-1, with Bilderback casting the dissenting vote.
In personnel actions BOE hired Sara Pace as a teacher at Monroe County Middle School and hired four paraprofessionals, three at T.G. Scott Elementary (Lindsey Bennett, Amber Johnston and Rebecca Leatherwood) and one at K.B. Sutton Elementary (Lucinda Mombler).
The board accepted the retirement of athletic trainer Jeff Quinn and the resignations of K.B. Sutton paraprofessional Kathryn Lyles and T.G. Scott custodian Brice Ueckert.
The next BOE meeting will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 5:30 p.m. The new teachers induction program will be Monday-Thursday, July 20-23, with board members invited to breakfast with the new teachers on Monday in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center. Hickman said there are approximately 38 new teachers.