MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - This fall, Madison City Schools students are working with books and pens, while the districts’ leaders are talking dollars and cents.
Monday, the school board reviewed the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget.
The board is scheduled to review the budget again on Sept. 5, but if nothing changes, the district is spending $1,648,459 more than it’s bringing in.
It would be the second straight year the district is in the red.
Superintendent Robby Parker pointed to state funding that’s based off previous year’s enrollment. He said this year Alabama will provide funds based off the 2018-2019 enrollment, when Madison’s 2019-2020 enrollment has grown by more than 600 students.
A press release from the district system said the system is partially making up for the difference by cutting into its state-mandated reserves.
The state requires every school district to have one month of emergency funds in reserve. The press release states the proposal would take Madison City Schools reserves from 45 days to 37, an “all-time low.”
Parker said he’s “not proud” of the cut, but the alternative is worse.
“The other option is to just start cutting programs, start cutting student programs. Cutting the world languages, cutting the engineering classes or the stem classes. I’m not willing to do that,” he said.
Tax payers will get a chance to help the district on Sept. 10 when a 12 mil property tax increase is on the table.
However, the new tax money would only fund the construction of two new schools and not help the budget shortfall.
It also still needs to win public support in September, something Madison resident Tom Scovill is actively arguing against.
“I don’t think we want to fund growth on the backs of widows and retirees, renters and other less affluent residents of the city,” he said.
Parker said the new schools will help property values for everyone.
But as for long term health budget, the future is unclear.