Decatur School Board holding closed meeting Monday, getting a budget update on Tuesday

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 8, 2015
School Board members listen to a presentation by consultant Jeff Prine. during their Feb. 23 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

School Board members listen to a presentation by consultant Jeff Prine. during their Feb. 23 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

City Schools of Decatur Board of Education members are meeting at 8 am Monday, March 9, for a closed door meeting, called an executive session.

While most School Board meetings are open to the public, this one will be closed to discuss a “personnel matter.” Legally, governing bodies can close meetings to discuss matters related to employees, ongoing or potential lawsuits, or land purchases.

The time of the meeting is notable, because executive sessions often are held at the end of regularly-scheduled meetings. There’s no indication about what personnel matter board members might be discussing. Board members won’t talk about it publicly unless they take some action like hiring or firing an employee.

The School Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, March 10, will be open to the public and begins at 6:30 pm. During that meeting, School Board members will see a revised budget estimate.

The School Board’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Currently, CSD is in Fiscal Year 2015. School Board members are examining the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which begins July 1.

The most recent draft estimates $56.1 million in expenses, a $5.1 million increase over Fiscal Year 2015 spending. Most of that increase – $2 million – will come from hiring about 25 new employees. There will also be a payment of $1.1 million to begin paying back the $18 million the school system borrowed by issuing certificates of participation, also known as COPS funding. The school system borrowed the money to begin work expanding Renfroe Middle and Decatur High.

The revised draft of the budget estimates the school system’s expenses will exceed revenues by $3.7 million instead of $5 million. The revised estimate is due to an expected $2 million increase in state funding, according to budget documents.

But what to do about the remaining $3.7 million?

One idea floated in the presentation is using the school system’s reserves to balance the budget. Board policy is to keep an amount between 4 and 15 percent of the budget as reserve funding.

“We are anticipating an ending fund balance of $4.8 million at the end of (Fiscal Year)  2016,” the budget presentation says. “To remain in compliance with board policy we would need to end Fiscal Year 2016 with at least $2.2 million.”

School Board meetings are held at 125 Electric Avenue Decatur, GA 30030

Read more: The Budget presentation for the March 10 School Board meeting.


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