10/11/06 — Schools approve budget for year

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Schools approve budget for year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 11, 2006 1:51 PM

A $147 million budget has been approved for Wayne County Public Schools' for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

The finance committee members of the Board of Education reviewed the uniform budget and resolution for 2006-07 at a meeting Sept. 26, with the full board approving it last week at its October meeting.

Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for financial services, said it has been a relatively mild year in terms of budget adjustments for the school system. Most of the changes to this year's figures came in the area of local current expenses, federal grants and capital outlay, she noted.

The local portion of the budget, which represents $22.9 million, was only increased by 3 percent this year, or nearly $1.1 million, Mrs. Barwick said.

Compared to last year's figures, she said there was a 14 percent drop, or $2 million, in the amount of federal grants. Funds from federal grants for this year was projected at $13 million. That figure could change, though, she said.

"At this point, you have to remember on the federal grants that their year doesn't start until after Oct. 1, so there could be more coming in," Mrs. Barwick said.

Capital outlay, which includes renovations, roofing and furniture projects, increased by about 10 percent over last year, attributed in large part to funds appropriated by county commissioners.

"This year, they gave us $470,838 for the capital outlay side," Mrs. Barwick said. The commission also contributed a nearly 5 percent increase on the current expense side, she added.

Other aspects of the budget include state funding, which totaled $100 million, $8.4 million in the child nutrition fund and $3.3 in capital outlay funds.

The uniform budget had to be approved and in place by Oct. 15, Mrs. Barwick said. It did not require further approval from the commission.

Since June, the school system has operated on an interim budget, which covered the months of July, August and September.

The budget process, which typically begins in January, went fairly smoothly this year, she said, despite the unpredictability of the future.

"Nobody has a clue what's going to happen six months from now. You're playing a game but you're also trying to put the best 'guesstimate,'" she said.

Based on past history, projections are made for what should comprise the upcoming year's budget, she said. Such variables as conversations with legislators, anticipated increases to fuel and cost of living expenses, all contribute to changes made for a new budget, she added.

On the threshold of the new budget year, though, Mrs. Barwick said school officials are comfortable with the proposed figures.

"Barring any major surprises, we should be able to operate on an even keel without making any drastic cuts at this point," she said.