By Alison James

Associate Editor

Opelika City Schools are set for another fiscal year after a $47 million budget was approved by the school board last Thursday.

After two open meetings/hearings to thoroughly explain the budget, the board went over it one last time and approved the $47,674,202 figure during a regular meeting. Expected revenue for the system was estimated out at $45,549,399.

“If you look at the overall scheme of things, the Carver project (the addition of new classrooms) makes up that difference,” Chief financial officer Chris Harrison said. “The grand total (of that project) is about 2.2 million.”

Harrison went through a number of the tables and charts outlining revenues and expenditures. Local revenues – those over which the school system has the most discretion – are decreasing for this fiscal year, Harrison said, and state funds are also lower than what is needed.

“We’re picking up $400,000 operational cost for transportation, roughly $150,000 for textbooks and all technology (above what the state gives us),” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors, commenting on the decrease in funds from the state.

The greatest portion of general fund expenditures, about 79 percent, will be for instructional services. This budget category includes teacher salaries and benefits.

“That is consistent with where we have been over the past several years,” Harrison said.

Other general fund expenditure breakdowns include operation and maintenance (about 10 percent), auxiliary, including transportation (about 5 percent), general administrative services (about 5 percent) and other expenditures (about 1 percent).

Harrison said the school system has a three months operating reserve. “From a liquidity standpoint I think we’re in good shape,” Harrison said.

The board also:

– Approved the Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.

– Renewed membership in the Alabama Association of School Boards.