TPSD budget likely to involve tax decrease

Tupelo School District LogoBy Chris Kieffer
Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District made an initial presentation Tuesday on its $88.3 million budget for the 2013-14 school year.

The district presented its budget during a public hearing at the Hancock Leadership Center. The board is expected to adopt it during its August meeting.

The budget would not require a tax increase and will likely lead to a decrease in taxes, said TPSD Finance Director Linda Pannell. Because the district finished paying off two shortfall notes on money it borrowed in 2009 and 2010, its debt millage would decrease by about 0.8 mills, Pannel said. The city taxing authority ultimately will set the tax rate.

The district’s largest expense will be instructional, on which it will spend $49.6 million, or 56.18 percent. That includes $43 million on salaries and fringe benefits and $6.56 million on other expenses.

Other large expenses include $10.4 million for facilities construction services (11.82 percent), $8.6 million on operational services (9.7 percent), $6.1 million on debt services (6.88 percent) and $4.1 million on non-instructional services (4.67 percent). The district would spend $3.4 million on school administration (3.89 percent) and $2.1 million on general administration (2.38 percent).

The budget would be funded by $77.9 million in revenue, meaning the district will spend some of its fund balance. The reason for the discrepancy is that it will spend construction money from its fund balance that it received in past years.

Revenue sources include $32.6 million (41.9 percent) from local taxes, $32 million from the state (41.2 percent), $9 million from the federal government (11.6 percent) and $4.1 million from other sources.

The budget accounts for 834 staff members, including 610 teachers. The average teacher salary will be $45,112, which represents a teacher with a master’s degree and 12 years of experience.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com