I wrote earlier today about a new report that the Jefferson County Board of Education, which is currently embroiled in questions about their ability to manage that school district’s huge budget, has just approved a record-breaking, 10.2 percent increase in their budget for 2014.
Some of the information came from a very interesting article in the Courier-Journal.
I now have accessed some additional documents that the Courier posted from the school board’s meeting, which include this interesting graphic (to which I added some comments).
I am not a budget person, but it looks like the district’s financial people say they are planning for expenses in the new budget of $1,019,072,067 but only think incoming revenue will be $1,011,815,318, which is a shortfall of about $7.2 million. The district’s budgeters seem to think that shortfall can be made up with money coming in from the Erate program and by not filling some positions, and by eating into contingency money for another $1.7 million.
That’s somewhat speculative, obviously, but the real issue is the comment “Expense Budget does not include required contingency” found under the left bar in the graph.
Hmmm – something is missing. And, it might be expensive.
You see, the Courier-Journal says the full budget for 2014 approved by the board is $1,342,383,041. The difference between that and the Revenue Budget amount shown in the graph is $330,567,723.
Maybe there is an explanation (again, I am not a budget guy), but with a possible shortfall of hundreds of million dollars between projected revenue and planned total spending, I hope someone has a better explanation than this graph provided the Jefferson County Board of Education.
I hope the Kentucky Department of Education’s finance experts are listening. That goes double for the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts. We cannot afford to have Kentucky’s largest school system go insolvent.