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A look at BoE's budget
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The Bryan County School System has completed six months of the current fiscal year.
Unlike the city and county governments, the school system operates on a state fiscal year basis that runs July 1 through June 30. During the first six months of the fiscal year, the school system has expended almost 45 percent of the budgeted expenditures yet only collected about 34 percent of the budgeted revenues. Of the total revenues collected, only 5 percent is attributable to property tax collections.
Because the tax digest is prepared on a calendar year basis with taxes due in February, the school system must have sufficient reserves to maintain a healthy cash flow until tax collections are realized. The 2006 property tax digest reflects a 27 percent growth in property values.
Over the last five years, the digest has grown an amazing 82 percent.
In December, the Bryan County Board of Education adopted a millage rate of 13.614 mills which reflects a 2.082 mill rate reduction.
Because of student growth, the state mandate to reduce class sizes, and the implementation of new programs, the school system budgeted for 50 new positions in the FY 2007 budget. Of these 50 new positions, 40 were instructional related. The total General Fund budget is $45.9 million which reflects a 14.2 percent increase over the prior year. Salaries and benefits account for 81 percent of the budget. The FY 2007 budget includes a 4 percent cost of living increase for all staff and a 2.5 percent increase in health insurance costs.
The Bryan County School System is currently in its 4th year of its second SPLOST. SPLOST II is expected to realize approximately $16.2 million of sales tax revenues over the five-year period. In addition, $7.1 million of state funds will be received to assist with capital outlay projects. Of this amount, $5.7 million of capital outlay advance funding is for the new elementary school and $1.4 million of capital outlay growth funding is for additions at Carver Elementary and Richmond Hill Primary Schools.
The school system is beginning the budgeting process for the 2007-2008 school year. The process typically takes about six months to complete and a tentative budget will be presented to the Board of Education in May with final approval expected in June 2007.
 This was written by Melanie James, director of finance for Bryan County Schools.
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