Limestone County Schools 2016 budget looks worse than it is

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The Limestone County Schools Board of Education continues to review the district's proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year. Tuesday marked the second hearing on the financial plan.

The school system projects nearly $85 million in revenue for 2016, with more than 60 percent of that funding coming from the state.

Expenditures are slated at more than $122 million, but 30 percent of it is for capital outlay and debt services.

"It inflates it falsely," said Superintendent Tom Sisk.

The district has roughly $71 million in debt, but mostly for construction, renovations and upgrades to facilities.

"We've been very frugal with money. We've been good stewards of the taxpayers money and we've been able to do all of these projects without raising taxes," he added.

Local revenue is also projected to see a nearly 17 percent increase, with more than $29 million budgeted for the year that begins October 1. However, much of that local money is helping to offset district costs typically covered by state funds.

Sisk said it could get even worse if the state legislature adopts a general fund budget that takes money from the state education budget.

"It alarms me when I hear people say that there's a surplus in education," he said. "Education has taken its licks, just like every other state agency has, and we have tightened our belt and tightened our belt and tightened our belt."

The final budget hearing and vote will take place at the next school board meeting on August 25 at the Limestone County Courthouse Annex.