By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton County School Board (WCSB) met on May 29 in their first budget workshop to discuss the preliminary figures coming in and how the future school year budget will take shape. Although no real numbers are available until after July 2, when the taxable value certificate is released, Walton County School Superintendent Carlene Anderson had told the board in an earlier meeting, “I want to show you what we are already looking at so you will have an idea of what we are facing.”
Revenue items like property values, the base student allowance, and the fund balance are all in decline but Anderson was still positive that little would change in the budget.
Mary Hobbs, Walton County School Finance Director, told the board the largest draw on the fund balance account was the benefits and salaries of the employees and it had been drawn down from around $3 million to a little over $2 million by the end of the year. Hobbs told the group that they will need to find more funding in the future, or decrease spending, even with a state-required increase in millage due to the Required Local Effort. A needed increase of .215 mills will be required to maintain the budget as is for the future. The board and school have already been paring down expenses the past few years, but Hobbs surmised that the fund balance requires a minimum of 3 percent as a balance and the board is looking at needing an influx of around $3 million to keep everything afloat as is. The Herald Breeze will continue to follow the WCSB budget as the numbers come in.