CHARLES TOWN - In a meeting to determine Jefferson County Schools' current fiscal position, an analysis of the budget revealed no abnormalities based on previous data and projection.
The Jefferson County Board of Education met in a mandatory meeting to review aspects of the budget including categories like revenue, expenditures and proposed levy rates. As part of the meeting, the board members approved proposed levy rates to submit to the State Auditor's Office.
According to Beth Marrone, chief business official, the levy rates are determined by three parts: the current expense levy or regular levy, set by the state Legislature; the bond levy, set by the municipal bond commission; and the excess levy, determined by the Board of Education.
"The current levy is in effect from July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2015, which is basically fiscal year '12 to '16. Our current rate is at 100 percent ... and for my tenure it has always been set at 100 percent," Marrone said.
The board members voted to approve the proposed levy rates. Continuing the description of the budget's fiscal position, Marrone highlighted items from the budget's revenue and expenditures.
The three revenue features mentioned were increased enrollment, tax collection and Medicaid reimbursement. Twenty teachers were hired but there was no increased enrollment, so accommodations had to be made for that revenue source not coming in.
The second point was tax collection currently at 80 percent, which is standard according to previous years' data, and the Medicaid reimbursement rate, which is tied to the special education services, has decreased over the past year from 83 percent to 78 percent.
"When revenue goes down there are two options to offset that decrease: either additional revenue sources, which we've done in the past, or decreased expenditures. Preliminarily we're looking at doing both of those options to make up for the decrease in those revenues," Marrone said.
An expenditure item that ended up exceeding the allotted budgetary amount was fuel, which went over budget by about 20 percent, or $200,000.
"This year, instead of using our carryover money for one-time projects, we used it for increased enrollment and special education services. That would be the only thing different in this year's budget," Marrone said.
As dictated by law, the board members had to adjourn the meeting until April 17, when the board members will finalize the budget.