The McComb school board approved a 2020-21 budget of $28.4 million Tuesday. That’s up about $400,000 from the current year, but two things are almost certain to change the numbers.
For starters, the Legislature has not set its education budget because its session got delayed by the coronavirus shutdown. Also school officials don’t know how any virus-related operations changes will affect spending.
The largest share of revenue is coming from the state: $12.0 million. But that’s down $1.1 million from a year ago, partly because the district has about 90 fewer students, which means it gets less money from the state. Also, district financial officials reduced state revenue since they don’t yet know what McComb will get from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.
Local revenue, which is mostly property taxes, will bring in $8.795 million during the budget year that begins July 1. That is down $17,000 from this year.
Federal money accounts for $7.321 million, which is up $1.3 million from the current year. The increase is money the district has been told it will receive for virus costs.
As for costs, the new budget anticipates a decline in instructional spending but an increase in support services.
Instructional spending, which is mostly teacher salaries and benefits, will be $13.429 million, down $81,000 from the current year. Support services is $11.813 million, up $616,000 from this year.
Spending on non-instructional services is $2.494 million, down $99,000 from this year. Debt interest and principal totals $724,800, nearly $50,000 less than this year.
The school board does not set the millage rate, which is used to calculate property taxes. It will send a request for revenue to the city of McComb, which then sets the rate. The tax rate of 62.75 mills has not been changed for a number of years.
In another financial matter, the board approved borrowing $280,874 as a “shortfall note” for property taxes it was owed this year but did not receive.
As in the past, this year’s loan is payable over three years. It replaces a $129,000 shortfall note in 2017. The good news is that this year’s interest rate was 2.12 percent with Trustmark National Bank, down from 3 percent or more in recent years.
In other business the board:
• Approved its annual rotation of board officers. Kizzy Coney will be school board president for a year starting in July, while Lynn Gilmore will be vice president and Betsy Murrell will be secretary.
• Approved the purchase of an air-conditioned school bus for $91,300. The board is getting the money from $252,000 in 16th section interest payments it received over the past four years.
• Approved a one-year property insurance policy for $235,000 with the Mississippi School Boards Association Property Casualty Insurance Trusts. The cost is up 12 percent from last year’s $210,000 because the district’s buildings were reappraised last year at a higher value, and because the district added five vehicles to the policy.