Tupelo Schools unveil preliminary 2012-13 budget

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District will have a 3 percent reduction in spending this year, according to a draft of the district’s 2012-13 budget presented on Tuesday.
The district will not approve its budget until Aug. 14, but on Tuesday it held a public hearing to present a draft of that document. It could lead to a tax decrease.
The budget calls for the district to spend $82,525,076, or about $2.7 million, less than what it spent during the past year. That total does not include $11.3 million that will be transferred between different funds and $535,000 it will spend on the Hancock Learning Foundation – apartments the district owns. Counting that money, expenses total $94.4 million.
Total revenue is $75.35 million, not counting the inter-fund transfers and Learning Foundation. With that, net revenue is $87.2 million.
The reason the district will spend more than it earns is that it will spend some of the money in its savings, Finance Director Linda Pannel said. With that, the district still anticipates ending the year with at least $14 million in its fund balance.
Savings from last year include about $1.8 million less on construction/facilities acquisition than it did a year ago when it was able to obtain a low-interest $2 million loan to spend on construction. That loan was available through the stimulus program.
The budget will be funded by $32.88 million from the state, $32.7 million from local taxes and $10 million from federal sources.
The district anticipates a reduction in its tax millage from 65.31 mills to 64.63. That amount ultimately will be set by the city’s taxing authority. The total would include 55 mills for operations and 9.63 for the district’s debt.
It will spend $51.98 million, or 63 percent of the total, on instruction. It would spend $9.48 million on operational services, $6.46 million on debt services, $3.92 million on non-instructional services and $3.3 million on school administration.
District initiatives include spending $695,044 on the department of curriculum and instruction, $1 million on the High School Advancement Academy, $1.66 million on the One-to-One laptop initiative and $351,000 on the summer curriculum writing project.
chris.kieffer@jouranlinc.com