Remember to vote Tuesday

by Bill Lynch, Superintendent of Schools Fulton City School District

I am writing to encourage all registered voters in the community to participate in the Fulton school budget vote and board of education elections.

Tuesday, May 21, registered voters in the Fulton City School District will be asked to vote on the 2013-14 school district budget.

Members of the school board approved a $65.26 million tentative budget at their April 9th meeting. This budget, which was developed with input from a District Budget Committee and approved by the board, continues to provide and support quality educational programs, services and activities for our students.

Over the prior four years, our district has faced significant financial challenges which resulted in reductions to staff, programs and services.

The primary goal again this year in creating the 2013-14 budget is to maintain all student instructional programs, services and opportunities.

The budget is a $2.86 million increase from the current year budget and represents a 4.6 percent budget increase. The budget is supported by an increase of over $1.2 million in state foundation aid and in $1.1 million in expense driven aids including building aid for prior voter approved capital projects.

It is noteworthy that state operating or “foundation” aid to our district is still $1,236,669 less than received in 2008-09!

The district is prudently using $1.5 million in the district fund balance to cover general expenses plus $651,000 from two reserve accounts to cover specific expenses for which the reserve accounts were established.

Finally, a 1.5 percent increase in the local tax levy is anticipated, well below the district’s allowable school tax levy limit increase of 3.6%.

This spending plan supports district goals and the learning needs of all students, both high achieving and at risk.

Specifically, all instructional programs and course levels are maintained as are social and behavioral supports and services.

The budget further covers costs for district transportation, the maintenance and upkeep of schools and facilities and staff salaries, benefits and retirement costs.

The 2013-14 budget directs 74.2 percent of funds to student instruction, services and programs. Of the $2.86 million increase in the total budget, $2.26 million is directed to the program portion of the budget, which focuses on student instruction and learning.

The capital and debt portion of the budget makes up 15.8 percent while administration the remaining 10 percent.

State aid will provide 62.3 percent of the revenue, with the local tax levy providing 30.7 percent and other revenues contributing 7.0 percent of support.

Voters will also cast ballots to elect two members to the board of education.

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