Madison County Schools preparing budget with concerns about Alabama Education Trust Fund

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)–  Madison County School officials presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget at Tuesday’s board meeting.

CFO Karen O’Bannon tells WHNT News 19 the $150 million is balanced, but there are still concerns about funding sources. She says an inadequate tax structure keeps Madison County Schools from cashing in on more local revenue. She adds that county schools can’t capitalize on certain taxes that municipal school systems of similar sizes can.

These things together create financial strain. O’Bannon indicated that the school system’s budget could be affected if there are cuts to the state of Alabama’s Education Trust Fund, although it’s unclear exactly what effect those possible cuts might have.

She says Madison County draws more than 60% of its funding from the state because its local revenue opportunities are low, so concern about the ETF’s future also weighs on county school officials who rely on that money being there.

Superintendent Matt Massey said,  “If there’s any kind of state cut to education, we feel it just incredibly, incredibly hard. And so the stakes are really high for us and county schools are keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Montgomery.”

Other area school leaders have also recently sounded off about protecting the Education Trust Fund.

The second public budget hearing for Madison County Schools is September 3.