BIRMINGHAM, Alabama– Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon states the system will have set aside its necessary one-month operating reserve by the time the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
Thats been a multi-year procedure, he said while on a spending plan hearing today.
According to Chief Financial Officer Arthur Watts, the school system will have between $19 million and $20 million reserved by the end of the month.
That well exceeds the $16.2 million needed to satisfy the state-mandated one-month operating reserve.
Watts projects the school system will have an even greater reserve by the end of fiscal 2015, some $24.9 million in unreserved fund balance for the systems general fund.
I believe thats big, he stated.
However Witherspoon issued cautionary words that reserve does not equate into a windfall for the cash-strapped school system.
I desire to be clear. We have satisfied our financial obligation, but those funds must stay in reserve and cant be touched, he stated.
Witherspoon continued with a pitch for the school systems recommended 3-mill property tax increase set to go in the pastprecede city voters Feb. 10.
If accepted, it would increase propertyreal estate tax in the city to 33.8 mills, an extra $2.50 per month for a home appraised at $100,000.
Witherspoon said the increase would help the system fund new academic offerings, including increasedpre-kindergarten classrooms, more foreign language offerings, and restoration and expansion of fine arts shows, which he said has actually suffered as an outcome of moneying cuts.
The boost would also make the school system less vulnerable to state funding cuts, Watts said.
Witherspoon stated the school system has currently enhanced the variety of pre-kindergarten from nine in the 2010-11 school year to 23 this academic year.
He also stated the school systems college graduation rate has actually enhanced its graduation rate from 56 to 66 percent.
While we laud that improvement, we are definitely not satisfied with that, Witherspoon said. Sixty-six percent is certainly not where we really wantwish to be.
The Alabama State Board of Education voted in July 2012 to intervene in the systems bothered financial resources as it faced a $20 million deficit associated with required reserve funds.
The same month, AdvanceEd, the company responsible for certifying all public K-12 schools in the South, positioned the school system on probationciting management issues and infighting on the Birmingham Board of Education.
The state then assumed direct control over the systems finances due to the local boards failure to abide by the states monetary recuperation strategy.
AdvanceEd has because upgraded Birmingham City Schools from accreditation probation to recognized warned.