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Numbers are stronger for BoE in 2011

POSTED: August 8, 2011 6:57 p.m.

Final numbers aren’t quite tallied, but the Effingham County Board of Education should close the 2011 financial year considerably stronger than FY 2010.

As the BoE waits for a few more checks, they expect to be $530,000 above its budgeted revenue for FY11, and have more than $9 million in the general fund to pay expenses until tax revenues for FY12 begin to move in.

“The 2011 financial year is so much stronger than 2010,” said the school system’s financial director, Ron Wilson. “Last year was a tremendously hard year. Our fund balance was reduced by over $1 million because our revenue just evaporated. (FY 2011) is so much more positive so much stronger that we’re in a lot better position now going forward than we were at the end of FY10.”

Checks for June collections from the tax commissioner, tag and superior court offices brought the schools $530,000 in surplus tax revenues and are expected to bring in a little more by the end of August.

“Last year this time, it wasn’t that way,” said Wilson. “We were really short last year. Our expense budget is within what we predicted. The revenue budget came in a little more than we predicted. So that’s put us in a very strong situation.”

Last year, the BoE was $1.5 million below projected general fund balance.

Having those funds available to bridge the revenue gap between now and when tax collections begin the come in should prevent the school board from having to take out a short-term tax anticipation note loan as it has in the past.

Wilson said: “So I think (Superintendent Randy) Shearouse has led us through some very difficult times and we appreciate that. (This) was a really positive year for us, even though we’re in the midst of the third year of an economic recession. The expenses were in line with budget within a couple tenths of a one percent and the revenue came in more than we expected.”

Even education special purpose local option tax dollars are coming in relatively strong. In 46 months, the current SPLOST, SPLOST III, has brought in more than $34 million, more than the entire 60-month span of SPLOST II.

“So, we’ve vastly overcollected what we did in SPLOST II , still not what we expected for  SPLOST III,” Wilson said. “But in light of the economic downturn, we’ve done really, really well on SPLOST III.”

SPLOST brought in $752,063 in June and $549,969 in July. Although behind its original projections set in 2007, SPLOST III is above the revised budget projections.

“SPLOST is taking care of itself,” said Wilson.

The school board also approved new county district lines as recommended and approved by the Effingham County Board of Commissioners last month to send to the capital as legislators descend on Atlanta to redraw voting lines to reflect the 2010 Census numbers.

The Effingham County Board of Education shares the concerns of parents regarding students’ safety on school buses during the summer months. In light of this, the following precautions and procedures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all bus riders:

Students are allowed to have bottled water on the buses year round (no other types of drinks will be allowed).

Traffic on Nease Road and Highway 30 will be held while buses are released. When the decision is made to roll buses, buses will move straight from the loading area and onto Highway 30. They should not be stopped at the gate.

If a loaded bus has to be held for more than a few minutes in hot weather, the children should be off-loaded to a shady area, maybe under an awning, or into an air-conditioned classroom.

Inclement weather loading procedures should be used at the elementary schools for August and September to get younger children loaded and on the route more quickly.

Our goal is to have buses loaded and rolling as quickly as possible.

First day enrollment numbers for the school system showed 10,757 students in Effingham County public schools. But students are not considered enrolled until they show up for the first day.

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