In yet another reversal, the Jackson County School System will eliminate four of 10 planned employee furlough days from the 2011-2012 school year. The district will now have six furlough days.
Superintendent Shannon Adams told school system employees in an e-mail on Thursday that after counting the budget numbers for its recently-completed 2011 fiscal year, the district will have enough money to restore four of the 10 furlough days.
The school system ended the 2011 fiscal year with a $9.3 million surplus, according to Jeff Sanchez, assistant superintendent for finance and information services. The tentative 2012 fiscal year budget that the board of education is expected to adopt on Monday anticipates an estimated $6.1 million surplus on June 30, 2012.
Sanchez told the board of education on Thursday that restoring some of the furlough days comes after the district received 100 percent of its local property tax revenue and 105 percent of its Quality Basic Education (QBE) money from the state. The county's tax digest was also better than expected.
The tentative 2012 fiscal year budget includes the additional $1.1 million in salaries and benefits to restore the four furlough days. Sanchez also allocated more funds for school supplies, media center supplies, textbooks and diesel fuel in the proposed budget. The budget doesn’t include a property tax increase.
Sanchez explained that the school system will try to move towards restoring all of its furlough days.
Adams explained in his e-mail to employees: “We will continue to follow the same conservative fiscal path we have been on for the last 3 years, hoping to further solidify the financial condition of the school system. If we can continue to demonstrate consistent progress, I don't think it's out of the question to have a ‘normal’ school year in 2012-2013.”
About a week before the latest announcement, Adams told employees that the school system would be unable to trim any furlough days in an effort to keep enough money in its fund balance.
Since ending the 2009 fiscal year in a deficit, the school system has improved its financial status through layoffs, closing its Regional Evening School and other cost-cutting measures.
The Jackson County School System has already taken one employee furlough day for the 2011-2012 school year — which took place on Wednesday, Aug. 3, the day before students returned to class.
Adams said the school system hasn’t determined which furlough days it will restore, but its teacher advisory committee will soon make that recommendation.
More details about the school system’s tentative budget will be featured in the Aug. 10 issue of The Jackson Herald.