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Tue, Jul 29, 2014

City schools using $1 million to balance budget

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Schools across the nation are facing a tough budget year and Murfreesboro City Schools is no different.

The city school board will look at approving a budget that has a $$652,811 increase in expenditures after it is balanced by dipping into its rainy day fund at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

"We have not asked the city for any additional money," said Gary Anderson, MCS Finance director.

Most of the budget’s 1.27 percent increase comes in the form teacher pay raises, anticipated increases in medical insurance cost.

The system did consider setting aside $625,000 to purchase land for a future school, but the board decided to remove that item.

The budget assumes the student population will stay flat level, so no new teaching jobs will be added next year.

The school board plans to use $1,095,422 from its rainy day fund to close a budget gap caused by the faltering economy and declining sales tax revenues. The gap may be smaller after bids come for a roofing project, Anderson said.

But the system could have some more money coming to it from a proposed increase in the county’s property tax, because the county must provide, almost 16 percent of funds provided to county schools to city school.

At last estimate the city is set to receive $9.9 million from the county to support city schools, County Finance Director Lisa Nolen said.

But if the county commission approves a 5.5-cent increase to the property tax to support increases in the Rutherford County Board of Educations budget, city schools will receive almost $387,000 in additional money from the county.

The system is also in line to receive more than $2.6 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Title I schools will get $747,000, special education will get $1.8 million and special education preschool classes will get $114,000.

The money can be spent over the next two years, on nonrecurring costs, like equipment and teacher development. The money can also be used to expand after school and summer programs this year.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.
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