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School district shaves another $22 million from next year’s budget

By Staff | Aug 24, 2011

The School Board of Lee County will now consider a budget for next year that is $22,255,922 less than previously projected.

The budget that the school board will be asked to approve on Sept. 13 at 5:05 p.m. is $1,381,457,668, which is less than the tentative budget previously approved of $1,403,713,660.

The differences included an increase in the general fund of $2,275,511; special revenue of $23,152,911; internal service of $5,467,757 and food service of $455,537. The portions of the budget that experienced a decrease included debt service with $31,723 less and capital projects with $53,575,985 less than the earlier proposal..

Budget Director Dr. Ami Desamours said they used strategic cuts that they thought was feasible and thoughtful. She said they will continue to use reserves to cushion the blow of the lost of stimulus dollars and state budget cuts.

Desamours said that several of the expenses in capital projects that were posted in 2011 decreased the fund budget that was expected to roll into the 2012 budget.

“That doesn’t change the budget picture in 2012 for capital,” she said.

She said they have a five-year plan that will be discussed during the next committee meeting to address what the best structure is in the next five years.

The special revenue portion of the budget went from $44,786,330 to $67,939,241 because of an increase in federal grants the district received.

The tax rates to be approved in September includes a required local effort of 5.606 mills, which is proposed to raise $309,395,240; basic discretionary of .748, which is proposed to raise $41,282,133 and capital outlay of 1.500, which is proposed to raise $82,785,027. The total millage levy is 7.854, which will raise a proposed $433,462,400.

For taxpayers, one mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable property valuation.

Desamours said next year they are forecasting that the state will again lose money. She said the 2012-2013 year is projected to be the last year that there will be negative revenue at the state level.

Over the next couple of years, Desamours said they will look into reinstating items that have been cut as dollars allow and the economy recovers.