Huntsville City School District Expects To See $17.9M Surplus Ahead Of 2014 Fiscal Year
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The 2013 school year kicks off next week but the Huntsville City School Board is already thinking ahead. Thursday evening, the board met to review its budget for the 2014 school year.
While the system has a substantial surplus, school officials say it’s not doing as well as it may seem. District officials have calculated they will have about $17.9 million in revenue going into FY 2014. It’s a far cry from two years ago when they were $19 million in the red.
Superintendent Casey Wardynski says in preparing for the 2014 fiscal year, Huntsville City Schools finds itself in good standing with the state.
“By state law we’re required to have about one month operating expenditures on hand. We will have 108 percent of that requirement on hand,” said Wardynski.
With a $300 million budget, and an expected $17.9 million in revenue, Wardynski says the district is right where it wants to be financially.
However, despite the safety net, the district found it is paying more to the state, but getting less in return.
“The state collects money from our citizens, personal and corporate income taxes, sales taxes and so forth,” explained Wardynski. “A portion of that finds its way back to Huntsville. But the amount we’re getting back is going down.”
Wardynski says the net difference is about $2 million.
Part of the decreased return is a result of state legislature’s votes in favor of a pay raise for teachers.
“Teachers certainly deserve a pay increase, perhaps larger than they got, but when they do that our cost goes up. A chunk of it for benefits, and we have about 150 teachers we fund locally and of course we’re going to give them pay raises, too,” said Wardynski.
That, along with a cut in federal funding, amounts to about a $3.5 million decrease in federal and state revenue for the district.
Wardynski says when they plan these budgets they try to have a five-year outlook. He says as long as they aren’t dealt a major blow by lawmakers in Montgomery, the district should be in the green for the coming years.