Tupelo Schools approve $97.8M budget

By Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo School Board on Tuesday approved a $97.8 million budget that will not require a tax increase.

The proposal matched the one presented during July’s budget hearing. It anticipates $85.35 million in revenue.

The reason the budget spends more than that is the district has an $8.04 million savings fund set aside for emergency construction projects. Although it does not anticipate spending that money, it is included in the budget in case it is needed.

Also, Finance Director Linda Pannell said, state cuts may cause the district to have to spend some of its fund balance. The budget allows room for spending that likely will not be needed, Pannell said. She does not expect the fund balance will fall much below its current level, which is about $27 million. Typically the district spends less than it budgets, she said.

Funding includes $33.3 million from local sources, $32.9 million from the state, $8.97 million from federal sources and $10.1 million from other sources, including inter-fund transfers.

The largest expenditure is $43.2 million on instruction. Other spending sources include $10.18 million on operation, $5.35 million on facilities/construction services and $5 million on debt service.

The budget also allows a 2 percent cost-of-living pay raise to all non-teaching staff. That includes principals, assistant principals, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers and maintenance workers, among others. Teachers already received a raise from the Legislature, and the board previously approved one for assistant teachers.

Major budget initiatives include $1.4 million for the one-to-one computer initiative, $486,000 for testing, $585,000 for the department of curriculum and instruction, $500,000 for training, $560,000 for the structured day program, $250,000 for teacher technology tools and $500,000 for textbooks.

The district has 618.5 licensed educator units, with an average teacher salary of $46,612.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com