HCS approves tentative budget

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District expects decreased state funding

By Kelly Cantrall

Hardin County Schools’ officials expect a smaller general fund for the upcoming fiscal year.

The HCS board approved the tentative budget for fiscal year 2014 on Thursday night at its regular meeting. The district expects a reduction in state funding but an increase in local tax revenue. The tentative budget is the second step of a three-step cycle; the draft version of the budget was approved in January.

The tentative budget forecasts a general fund of $96.6 million, a decrease from $102.2 million for this current fiscal year. The beginning balance for fiscal year 2014 is about $5.5 million less than the beginning balance for the current year.

The reduction in Support Education Excellence in Kentucky money, the state funding based on student attendance, is $6 a student — $3,833 per student in fiscal year 2013 to $3,827 in fiscal year 2014. This means about $1.1 million less in the HCS general fund, according to a decision paper presented to the board.

An increase in property tax of about $1 million is expected, from $18.5 million for this fiscal year to $19.5 million for the next fiscal year.

The district reduced its contingency fund, a savings account of a sort for the district, from 7 percent to 3 percent to balance the budget, according to the decision paper. Superintendent Nannette Johnston said the SEEK cuts and various effects of sequestration on the federal level have been difficult.

“It’s a very, very tight budget,” she said.

The district will spend about $47.7 million on personnel, up from $46.4 million in this fiscal year. The district is planning a 2 percent salary increase based on experience in the budget, and a 1 percent cost-of-living raise is included.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.