Houlka trustees OK 2014-15 budget

Houlka School building copyHOULKA – Chickasaw County School Board Trustees adopted a $4.4 million budget Monday night that will require them to dip into their fund balance to balance the books.

On a motion by Trustee Pam Butler and a second by Michelle Collums, the district voted to approve the 2014-15 budget. Trustees Kenneth Linton, Jamie Earp and Board President Ruby Hollin unanimously supported the measure.

The budget calls for expenses of $4,798,503 for the upcoming year and projects revenues of $4,459704. That deficit will require the district to pull $338,799 from their fund balance.

The district expects to have a fun balance of $817,769 at the end of its 2014-15 fiscal year.

Houlka schools saw their MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program) cut $278,267 this year by the Mississippi Legislature.

MAEP is the state formula used to establish adequate current operation funding levels necessary for the

programs of each school district to meet a successful level of student performance. The formula was established by the State Board of Education using current statistically relevant state assessment data, such as average daily attendance, at-risk students and basic student costs.

The state has only fully funded this program twice since it was implemented in 1997, with lawmakers allocating money to other programs and agencies.

Houlka school are also half way through two major renovations that add up to the bulk of the amount taken from the fund balance this fall.

The district is repairing the 1935 windows at the school and total matching funds for this historic renovation are $151,445. The district will also fund $50,000 in bathroom repairs next year.

As with any budget, all numbers in the 2014-15 budget are estimates and the district will look for ways to cut costs. The actual dollars taken from the fund balance could be less when all bills are paid next summer.

The district did get one indication of a cost savings Monday night when they were told changes in their property and general liability insurance would save them $10,486.

District saw insurance rates skyrocket last year after tornadoes destroyed several school across North Mississippi.

Agent Bob Scott, of Tabb Insurance, said a change in insurance carriers from Chubb and Berkley to Liberty Mutual has prompted the savings.

The district also adopted new pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and student handbooks. New federal regulations require a separate handbook for all three age groups.


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