By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would amend the 2018 fiscal year Budget to allow expenditure of school funds.
Board members took the action during their Oct. 9 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Bethany Huffman.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at the board’s Nov. 13 meeting.
It states that the Millington School Board has become aware of revenues that were “not projected correctly” in the budget. They include an additional $894,900 in the General Purpose School Fund and $86,550 in the School Nutrition Fund.
The school board approved the change at its Oct. 2 meeting and requested the city board’s required approval of the budget amendments.
During discussion shortly before the vote, City Finance Director John Trusty said the school board is “modifying” its budget for some revenues that it was not aware of when the budget was prepared in June. It is also “reducing” for some revenues it had identified in the budget, because it will not receive that much this year.
Trusty said the school board has “adjusted” various departments and expenditures related to the General Purpose School Fund. There is also an amendment to the School Nutrition Fund for some additional dollars that the school board will receive and allocate for that.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, cited two items related to the Tennessee Basic Education Program, which allocates funds based on student enrollment. He said the school system had thought it might have “a slight drop” in enrollment this year from what it was last year.
“Our enrollment has not decreased,” he noted. “So, we’re getting some more BEP funds than what we had thought we might get.”
Roper said there are also some “contingent funds” that the school system thought were not going to continue to come in this year.
“But we had a pleasant surprise that the state is granting those to us for at least one additional year,” he noted. “Beyond that, we don’t know for sure.”
Roper said those two items basically amount to additional BEP monies that must be included in the budget.
While he acknowledged that attempting to project enrollments is always “a very inexact science,” the superintendent said they increased this year at E. A. Harrold Elementary and Millington Middle schools. There were “slight decreases” at Millington Elementary and Millington Central High School “at about the same level” as last year.
So, the “net result” is actually a slight enrollment increase.
“Our approach to budgeting is very conservative,” Roper said. “We try anything to underestimate revenues. So, if we get more than that, we’re to the good.”
While noting that $494,000 of the $894,000 increase is listed under Capital Outlay, Huffman asked what that comprises.
Roper said Capital Outlay is part of the General Fund and should not be “confused” with Capital Projects, which is a separate fund. He said he intends to place the additional funds in Capital Outlay.
“That allows us the flexibility to use those for expenditures that come up within the General Fund,” he noted. “If they need to be transferred later on toward capital projects themselves, we could do that.”
As an example, Roper said the school system is exploring the possibility of some extra expenditures for its 2019 fiscal year budget, which it will begin preparing next spring. Those funds will be used for “additional teacher units” in an effort to reduce the student/teacher ratios in some classrooms.
“So, that’s kind of a parking space for those funds at this point,” Roper concluded.
By Bill Short