The projected beginning fund balance of the fiscal year 2015 is $9,521,006 and will end the year with a projected balance of $3,854,252. The total of general expenditures, which includes items such as maintenance, instruction, and media services is projected to be $110,678,956.
Board member Matt Shultz expressed concerns that the school system is one year away from a negative balance due to the low amount of the projected ending fund balance.
However, Superintendent John Harper said, “Over the past several years, we have chipped away at the amount of the reserve funds we use. We continue to hope the tax digest will increase and the expansion of business in Bartow will positively affect our revenues.”
The board approved the academic calendar and work schedule for the 2014-2015 school year. The new year will include 180 of instruction, in contrast to the 177 of the previous school year. Due to financial constraints, the school day was lengthened in 2013-2014. Harper said this caused many problems for parents with scheduling appointments and extracurricular activities. For that reason, he proposed the move back to a 180-day school year.
“We are very happy to have been able to support our lowest salaried workers. We got our bus drivers, para-professionals, nurses and food service are back on a full contract. It is important for us to support them in what they do. It also gets us back to where we need to be. I have been trying to peck away at that year after year. It is disappointing to still have the furlough situation, but my commitment is to balance the budget and get rid of all the furlough days. I hope to be able to get us there within the next couple years,” Harper said.