BOE holds first budget hearing

Chief Financial Officer Jason Mann gives a presentation on the Elmore County school system’s budgetary plans for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years to the Board of Education. (Amalia Kortright/The Herald)

The Elmore County Board of Education discussed federal and state allocations, as well as projected expenditures, for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years during a budget hearing Thursday afternoon.

According to Elmore County Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Jason Mann, the majority of the allocations from the state increased from last year. The projected budget for the 2018-19 academic year is more than $106 million. The majority of funding comes from the state and roughly $26 million is expected to come in from local sources.

Mann said they were allocated more than $67 million from the state to cover more than 11,000 students enrolled in Elmore County. However, they are expected receive less funding than initially stated due to fluctuating numbers of students at the J.F. Ingram Trade School, which is attended by residents of the Frank Lee Youth Center. He said the decrease will not affect day-to-day business.

“I know for a fact the number in this budget is (currently) half a million dollars more than it’s going to be, come October 1,” Mann said.

Superintendent Richard Dennis said the decrease in funds will be a loss for the system, but will allow for a more accurate accounting process at a state level.

“For the greater good, I think it’s in the right direction,” Dennis said.

Mann said state allocations for classroom instructional support, pay raises, school nurses, technology coordinators, programs for at-risk students, transportation and career-technical education increased from last year.

Elmore County was also awarded grants from the state for the pre-K classrooms at several elementary schools.

In federal funding, ECPS Mann said allocations for students from low income households, teacher training special education and career-technical education increased, while funding for English as a Second Language (ESL) students slightly decreased. Mann said the decrease was due to a decline of ESL students in the area.

ECPS’s projected expenditures amount to more than $109 million and by the end of 2018, the general fund balance is expected to be about $13 million.

Mann said portions of the budget will be used to increase its focus on the system’s alternative education, virtual education, career-technical education programs and professional development for staff.

Mann said they are concentrating on expanding the system’s virtual school program, “attacking” construction needs for a new Redland Middle School, a new Elmore County Technical Center, as well as building arts facilities and additional classrooms throughout the area. He also said the system is looking to hire more special education staff.

In the future, Mann said ECPS is looking to continue allowances for out-of-district student participation, increase the presence of student resource officers on campuses, expand mental health services and implement new programs for the Elmore County Alternative Program.

A second budget hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17. More information about the budget will be available online at Elmoreco.com, and questions can be directed toward Mann at jason.mann@elmoreco.com