CONYERS -- Although members of the Rockdale County Board of Education have known for weeks about the budget woes facing Rockdale County Public Schools, they got a first look at the hard numbers last week.
Officials with RCPS presented them with a tentative budget for the 2012-13 school year on Thursday -- citing a 29.01 percent decrease in grant and federal funds, a 2.53 percent increase in state funds and a 7.30 percent decrease in local funds.
RCPS officials proposed a $124,844,519 budget, based on nearly $64 million, or nearly 52 percent of the budget, in revenues from the state, nearly $60 million in local funds and about $500,000 in federal dollars.
Revenues collected would be more than $123 million, down from $126.6 million the year before and $132 million prior to that. Revenues would be more in line with the 2008-09 school year, when they were about $123,675,000.
The $124.8 million in expenditures is down more than 4 percent from last school year, at about $130.5 million. In 2009, they were $132,665,000.
An internal budget committee -- which is made up of cabinet members; Brad Boling, director of Business Services at RCPS; Shoal Creek Elementary School Principal Blake Craft, Hightower Trail Elementary Principal Laura Jenkins, Edwards Middle School Principal Fred Middleton and Rockdale County High Principal Georgi Nour -- helped develop the budget.
Ad valorem tax revenues are expected to decrease by $4.7 million next school year.
Instruction makes up most of the budget expenditures, at more than $88 million, or nearly 71 percent of the budget. Maintenance and operations account for nearly $11 million, or nearly 9 percent of the budget. School administration costs more than $10 million, and student transportation is nearly $6 million.
Salaries and benefits are expected to be decreased to $112 million, down from the $117.5 million budgeted for this school year, according to the proposed budget.
A millage rate hasn't yet been proposed to board members. It is currently 24.5, up from 22.99 the previous year, when more than $9 million was cut from the budget.
At least $15 million will be cut to avoid a deficit. It includes enacting three staff furlough days to save $1.5 million, suspending alternative retirement contribution for the third consecutive year to save $3.6 million, deferring textbook purchases for the second consecutive year to save more than $2.7 million and increasing class size to eliminate 58 teacher positions to save nearly $3.9 million, among others. RCPS also is expecting to use $1.5 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.
The school board is expected to adopt a tentative budget Thursday.
The board is expected to approve a final budget on June 14 and a millage rate in July or August, according to its budget calendar.
The next public meeting for budget discussions is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, in the board room at the RCPS central complex, which is located at 954 North Main St. in Conyers.