Lenoir City Board of Education during a special called meeting May 28 approved its budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.
Board members Matthew Coleman and Glenn McNish motioned and seconded, respectively, to approve the proposed budget, which passed 3-0. Board members Mitch Ledbetter and Bobby Johnson Sr., were absent.
Jeanie Mowery, Lenoir City Schools business manager, noted changes in revenue for the 2020-21 year. Public Entity Partners, the insurance firm responsible for liability and workers’ compensation, is going to issue a “relief dividend” of $14,733 in July.
Based on May numbers, Mowery also estimated a $14,000 increase in Basic Education Program funding from the state. These numbers brought the total revenue change to a positive $28,733.
Lenoir City Director of Schools Jeanne Barker’s recommendations for the budget included a 1 percent salary increase across the board at a cost of $148,873. However, the 1 percent salary increase was cut after Gov. Bill Lee cut the state’s 2 percent salary increase for education.
“(The increase) is flow-through money,” Barker said. “That comes from the state to districts. That’s never enough. Whatever they give us, they say it’s 2 percent or 3 percent, that’s never enough because we pay above the minimum state requirement. So for us, that translated to a 1 percent, but that money was cut from the state.”
Barker said she hopes to look at a 1 percent bonus in December to come out of reserve funds.
There are also three new full-time positions and two part-time positions at a cost of $207,591 because the “district has grown,” Barker said.
Online course stipends totaling $7,075 were included in the budget because the district gained a new online learning program.
“We’ve added paving the parking lot at the high school and a mower for the athletic fields,” Barker said. “We’ve included an electronic, digital sign at the high school for information. … We need something that’s going to be a communication tool for us.”
The budget includes large fans for the Lenoir City High School gym and two school buses as well as a roofing project for Lenoir City High School.
Total expenses from recurring funding for programs, materials and equipment are $297,399. Staff development is $3,158. Facilities needs amount to $110,746. Total capital outlay for parking lot paving, an electronic sign and a mower is $202,000.
Although the board approved the budget as recommended, Barker said it is subject to amendments.
“With our general purpose fund now, with our projected revenues, with our projected expenditures, we’re returning $329,446 to the fund balance in this current year, and that will make our ending fund balance $6,692,320,” Mowery said. “For next year, with our change in revenue and expenditures, we’ll be using $416,410 from the fund balance for one-time costs only.”
Expenses from fund balance total $416,474 and will be used for items such as baseball field nets, a restriping machine for school parking lots, technology, gym fans, school buses and a roofing project.
Lenoir City Council on Monday approved first reading of the school district’s budget.
Amendments for the 2019-20 budget were also discussed.
Mowery said because sports practices are starting earlier in the year, federal regulations require the district also start providing special education services, so more money will need to be added to the 2019-20 budget.
There was also a painting contract with Lenoir City Elementary School that was incorrectly removed from the budget due to confusion and needed to be put back in.
The total for all changes to the budget was $22,560.
McNish and Coleman motioned and seconded, respectively, to approve the amendments, which passed 3-0.