WCS school board 3-10

Jason Golden looks across the way at school board members (from left) Dan Cash, Sheila Cleveland, Eric Welch and Rick Wimberly during the March 10 work session.

The Williamson County Board of Education will be voting Monday night on the proposed budget for 2022-23, a dollar amount significantly higher than the one for the current school year.

After board members were given an overview of the budget at last week’s work session from Rachel Farmer, Williamson County Schools assistant superintendent of Budget and Finance, they’ll have had a solid 10 days to review all the facts and figures as they head into Monday’s 6:30 p.m. March meeting at the county’s Administrative Complex.

“It’s a big budget,” Farmer said as she led the discussion at the March 10 work session. “However, it’s doable and we’re going to get there.”

The proposed 2022-23 budget also represents a big increase over previous budgets, with the general purpose school fund of $467,182,046 marking a jump of 12.69 percent (or $52,602,912 more) over the prior original budget from last July and 8.94 percent ($38,328,127) more than the current revised budget. This budget represents a total increase in staffing of 178 positions, according to Farmer’s overview.

Board members will also vote to approve the central cafeteria fund request of $19,522,056 with no projected rate increases, as well as the extended school program fund budget (which covers all elementary schools) of $5,841,165 which includes tuition increases.

Among the considerations in preparing the budget was the fact that the county indicated a need to increase the employer share for medical insurance by $750 per fulltime equivalent (FTE) for a total increase in medical insurance cost of $3,872,250 and no change for dental insurance this year, according to the overview. The county health insurance plan is a self‐funding plan with these payments being used to pay for claims. The total funding to the county for medical and dental insurance is $61,697,850, which is 13 percent of the total budget.

Farmer’s overview includes information on three revenue sources.

BEP

“Currently the BEP formula does not fund 747 of our educators/nurses. Next year’s BEP formula will have an increase for overall teacher pay. Governor Lee has said he will be putting $125,000,000 into BEP funding statewide for teacher pay, and the funds will be distributed based on each districts number of employed teachers. We are unsure at this time as to what our allocation will be. Based on our total number of employed teachers and an approximate total number of teachers employed by the State, we are estimating the amount could be around $3,000,000.”

Sales Tax

“Sales tax was projected with a 10% growth factor on sales from the 2020‐2021 fiscal year. Actual collections from sales tax from that year were used with the addition of $9,000,000 to account for the .5 percent tax increase from April of 2018 that we had agreed to give back to the County for three years to be used to pay down on capital debt. We only received the extra $1 million/month for the last three months of 2021, so the sales tax collection was adjusted to represent a full year of collections. The sales tax growth in 2021‐2022 is exceptional, so the prior year’s sales tax revenue was used instead for projections.”

Property Tax

“The February 2, 2022, projection of the penny provided by the County mayor’s office was used at our current tax rate for property taxes and does not include the new ADA split with FSSD. Remember, we share certain local revenues with FSSD based on student enrollment, which is the ADA split provided by the State. This number changes every year around February or March, and we have not received the allocation for this year yet.”