The Birmingham Board of Education has approved a $313 million budget that will fund salary increases, security enhancements and maintenance projects.
The board voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of the budget for the fiscal year that beings Oct. 1. Daagye Hendricks, who represents District 4, cast the lone vote against the spending plan. She said she felt there were too many unanswered questions and not enough information.
The city school system is required to submit its final budget to the Alabama State Department of Education by Sept. 16.
The budget includes several salary increases: a state-mandated 4 percent raise to all BCS staff, including teachers, that the in May; step salary increases; a 5% raise for custodians, bus drivers, child-nutrition workers and managers; and a raise from $8.25 an hour to $9 an hour for substitute teachers.
The budget also includes $6.2 million from the state Education Trust Fund for security enhancements, deferred maintenance and computer refreshes.
The school system projects total revenues of $296.7, with the rest of the $313 million total coming from a portion of the $86 million left over from the current fiscal year. The budget includes $137.3 million from the state.
A projected $115.8 million of the state money comes from the state Education Trust Fund. That revenue is directly tied to student enrollment and is calculated based on the average daily attendance between Sept. 3 and Sept. 30.
Interim Chief Financial Officer Crystal Billingsly-Briggs noted that amount could change, depending on the final calculation for average student enrollment. Enrollment figures continue to decline in the school system, having dropped by 751 students since last school year and by 2,119 since 2015.
Local revenue and city appropriations account for $104.4 million. Billingsly-Briggs said revenues were higher than expected due to a $2 million increase in citytax revenue, from $89.3 million in FY 2019 to $91.4 million for FY 2020. City appropriations, however, were reduced by $2 million with amountto the Birmingham Promise, a program providing apprenticeships and college scholarships to Birmingham students and graduates.
Total expenditures from the system’s general fund are projected at $242.3 million. Personnel costs — salaries and benefits — make up 77% of general fund spending and are projected to amount to $186.2 million, an increase of $7.4 million from the current budget.
The capital projects budget is $16.1 million,to be spent on existing capital projects (school buses, operations and maintenance, debt service, and the Bush Hills Steam Project), in addition to new projects that include roofs for three schools, flooring and paving projects, and general maintenance.
Before the vote, the board held the second of two public hearings on the budget. The first hearing was on Aug. 27. Public comment was allowed through written submissions on forms provided at the hearings.