The Gainesville City School Board began hearing the system’s fiscal year 2014 departmental budget presentations Monday night.
The board will continue to hear presentations over the next month and will vote to adopt the final budget in June before the next fiscal year begins on July 1.
Jimmie Minor, director of special education, presented the federal and local budgets for the program.
She said there are some 750 students enrolled in the program, 100 more students than last year.
Minor said she expects to use 100 percent of the federally funded $1,073,000 regular special education budget to maintain the department’s 23 full- and part-time employees and student programs and services.
“We use 100 percent of our budget,” Minor said. “We’re required to provide the services for the students and there is no wiggle room. Every penny that can be put into direct service we try to put it in there, but we also have to plan for what could happen. At this point we are not planning for anything above and beyond what we have right now, out of this budget it is 100 percent used.”
Minor presented a few possible ways to increase revenue for the program and to cut costs including Medicaid reimbursement from qualifying students and hiring a teacher for the visually impaired to reduce costs.
She said the budget was a work in progress.
Keith Vincent, director of maintenance and operations, presented additional budgets listing several maintenance projects for the coming year.
Chief Financial Officer Janet L. Allison said she expects the district to face some challenges as it puts its budget together.
Allison told The Times at an earlier work session that the system could end the fiscal year with a fund balance of $6 million to $6.5 million.
She said the system could be “tapping its resources” by $2.6 million or as much as $3.5 million in the coming year.
The district is expecting teacher retirement, health and other insurance costs to rise by $1 million.
Allison said $300,000 of that would pay for longevity increases in current staff salary schedules.
She said that over the next month the system will get a much clearer view of what its budget looks like.