By Sue Moore
Budget hearings take place annually for Vicksburg schools. Usually they are depressing because the news from the state has not been so good considering the per pupil foundation number that each school receives.
Although the state foundation number is still to be finalized, Steve Goss, the assistant to the superintendent believes there could be as much as a $120 per pupil increase. The Governor hasn’t signed anything as yet but the conference committee is indicating the foundation support would be around $7,631. Offsetting this good news is the anticipated reduction in Title I and Title II federal funding.
Pension reform legislation was passed and signed by the Governor with praise from the conservative Mackinac Center, but received across the board condemnation of the final bill by teachers and administrators, according to Superintendent Charlie Glaes. In the current school year, schools paid into the retirement system at a rate of approximately 25% of payroll.The budget as passed by the school board assumes 2,548 students, a drop of 32 youngsters for school year 2017/18. “We believe this is a shift in demographics,” Goss explained. There are lots of new houses being built but fewer kids moving into them. Schools of choice was not a consideration in this number Goss went on to say. The trend in enrollment history shows a slight to moderate decline from 2002 when the school had 2,750 students.
Total revenue under this scenario would be $26,442,014 and total expenses $26, 555.751. The fund balance of 8.6 percent of the budget is a little lower than it should be, Goss said. He would like it to be higher to cover any kind of unexpected happenings over the school year. The property tax levy is 18 mils, the maximum rate allowed. There has been a sizeable increase in taxable value for non-Homestead property. However, because property taxes are included in the state’s per-pupil funding, there is no additional revenue as a result of this growth.
Health insurance is the third largest part of the budget with Goss projecting $2,334,300 for 2017/18. The enhancement millage that was passed in May has come to be relied upon by the school district. “We would be facing dramatic program reductions without it.” Goss said.