City school board approves 2013-14 budget

September 15, 2013

The Clinton City Board of Education received the school system’s full 2013-14 budget resolution Thursday night during its regular monthly board meeting, a fiscal plan that is over a million dollars trimmer thanks to state and county cuts.

As the school board members looked over the financial plan, assistant superintendent Clyde Locklear pointed out the budget resolution is a complete representation of the school system’s budget, including the local current expense fund, the state public school fund, federal grant appropriations, the school food service fund, and capital outlay appropriations.

Previously, Locklear provided the school board with a brief summary of how the state budget was expected to affect the city system, highlighting major cuts that could be anticipated.

According to the summary, Clinton City Schools could expect a $552,640 reduction in state funding for classroom teachers which is equal to 10 teacher positions. There would also be an expected $238,188 reduction in funding for teacher assistants.

Locklear also noted that there would be no pay increase, but that five bonus annual leave days would be given.

According to Locklear, the total amount of reductions in state funding that the Clinton City Schools could expect to see amounted to $1,116,636.

Turning his attention to the local budget, Locklear pointed out in August that the school system’s current expense allocation from the county has been reduced by $2 per student which equates to an approximate $6,000 total cut for the city schools.

However, the supplemental current expense tax rate was expected to remain unchanged as was the capital outlay appropriations. “We’re expecting roughly the same,” noted Locklear at that time.

Now, the school system’s budget resolution for the current school year reflects the impact of those funding reductions.

According to the resolution, the school system’s appropriations in the state public school fund for classroom teachers totals $7,357,291 for this school year while appropriations for teacher assistants comes to $900, 314.

Locally, the budget for the school system’s current expense fund designates $1,017,431 for classroom teachers and $123,798 for teacher assistants.

As for funds for school technology, just $35,793 is coming from state funding while $177, 500 for technology is part of the local current expense fund.

The total state public school fund totals $16,391,814 while the total local current expense fund comes to $5,800,368.

At the federal level, $994, 986 is designated for Title 1 usage — helping disadvantaged students —while $144, 388 is designated for improving teacher quality.

In capital outlay, $376,816 has been appropriated for furniture and equipment.

“Reduction seems to be the theme,” said Locklear in August, explaining that what people hear about state funding for public schools can be misleading because while more money is going into education there are also more children going into education too, resulting in more cuts and less money per child.

This month, Locklear stressed that “it’s a particularly difficult budget year,” noting that “more than $1.1 million has been cut from Clinton City Schools.”

After looking over the budget, board member Diane Viser pointed out that “the budget is a plan, an expectation of what we will spend” and advised that “we should spend less where we can, when we can…we need to be mindful of that.”

The budget should become a regular part of the school board’s work and discussions, added Viser, hinting that she and her fellow board members might need to “make some changes, serious changes.”

To help do their part in easing the budget strains, Viser suggested that she and her fellow school board members look for ways to cut their own expenses, mentioning more efficient ways to receive training such as participating in webinars instead of traveling to workshops and conferences, particularly ones that require overnight stays. “I see it as a direct opportunity for us to say that we’re doing what we can.”

Superintendent Stuart Blount stressed that “budget talks will begin much, much, much sooner” than they previously have and noted that he anticipated that “we will have some very difficult decisions to make.”

Following the school board’s discussion, vice chairman E.R. Mason made a motion to approve this school year’s budget resolution with Jason Walters providing the needed second. The budget resolution was then accepted with a unanimous vote.

The school board’s next work session will be Thursday, Oct. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the central services office conference room.

Clinton City Schools’ next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Butler Avenue School.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at