Gainesville school board members have given tentative approval to a budget that adds new positions and restores calendar days for the upcoming school year.
The general fund is set at $62.1 million in expenditures, with revenues coming in at $58.5 million.
One of the key lines in the budget is room for 20 new certified positions, as well as two new bus driving positions and a speech and language pathologist.
The state budget, approved earlier this year, also restores a portion of the austerity cuts coming from the state. According to Chief Financial Officer Janet Allison, the city system had $4.8 million in austerity cuts in the 2014 fiscal year. Around $1.4 million is being restored in 2015.
“That’s the big rock for revenue,” she said.
That funding has allowed the city system to restore a full 190-day contract for teachers, as well as a 180-day schedule for students in the 2014-15 school year.
The total budget, including revenues coming in from state and federal sources, comes to $77.1 million.
The $3.6 million difference between expenditures and revenues in the general fund budget is expected to be made up with the system’s fund balance, estimated at around $8 million.
Allison said, for the most part, expenses have stayed the same other than “power, water, those types of things.
“Everything else is pretty close to what it was this year,” she added.
As of now there’s no proposed change to the millage rate, now at 7.59. The city’s school board members traditionally don’t vote on millage until September.
“Historically ... the board has adopted the budget in June with a millage rate adoption being done in September each year,” Allison said. “We prepare the (general fund) budget on the millage rate that exists in the fiscal year in which we are operating, and then when we get our certified digest back from the state ... we take that information, do some projections and adopt a millage rate at that time.”
Allison said city residents have the option to pay property taxes in two payments; typically, the first payment is made in July and calculated by the current millage rate. The second payment is then adjusted depending on the newly adjusted millage rate.
One mill equals $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value. Property is assessed at 100 percent in Gainesville.
Allison previously reported for every tenth of a mill drop, the system would lose around $303,000 in revenue.
Board members gave tentative approval to the budget at Monday’s work session. Final budget approval is expected at the Board of Education’s June 16 meeting, though board member Sammy Smith said approval is needed only by June 30, as required by state law.
“Just to clarify, the new scheduled meeting is June 16 but we have until June 30 to adopt,” he said. “The law allows us a little room for final adoption.”