Piedmont schools budget grows slightly
by Laura Gaddy
Sep 13, 2013 | 2991 views |  0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PIEDMONT – Piedmont’s school system is counting on local tax revenue to to bolster its bottom line in 2014.

Revenue projections are up by $579,470.90 for 2014, and the school system expects to take in $11 million next year. It plans to spend $10.8 million in the 2014 fiscal year, according to a budget approved by the Piedmont school board Friday.

“We’ve seen growth this year and we think we will see slight growth again next year,” said Piedmont schools Superintendent Matt Akin, referring to local sales tax revenue.

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Though it is good to see local revenue grow, the increase is nothing new, Akin said, saying it has increased incrementally for the past several years. He and board members said that because the revenue has changed little, their budgets have been similar in recent years.

“It looks about the same,” said board member and banker Lin Latta.

The district gets local money from property, sales and alcohol taxes.

The school system expects to receive $2.3 million in local revenue in 2014, up from $2.1 million school officials budgeted for local revenue in the current fiscal year.

The school system also plans to receive $6.9 million from the state in 2014, slightly more than this year. The extra money will pay for more teachers, who were needed because Piedmont’s enrollment rose by about 40 students last year, Akin said, to 1,203. The additional state money will also help pay for a 2 percent employee raise and employees’ retirement packages, Akin said.

“State funds are earmarked,” Akin said. “There is really very little flexibility in what we do with this.”

Federal funding is down slightly due to sequestration, Akin said. The system expects federal funding to fall by $20,434 in 2014. Piedmont schools received about $1.4 million from the federal government this year.

Piedmont school officials are unsure how much the system will receive in grants. In 2013, the system received about $650,000 in grants, and earlier this week Akin announced that the system is again putting in a bid for the highly competitive Race to the Top grant program.

Though they have the potential to add hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of programs to the school each year, grants can not be budgeted for because there is no way of knowing which, if any, grants school systems will receive each year.

“It helps us take our investment in innovation and expand it, exponentially sometimes,” Akin said. “What these grants have done is help us go to the next level much faster.”

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.

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