Demopolis BOE approves 2013-14 budget

Demopolis’ Board of Education got bad news and good news before approving its proposed 2013-14 budget at Monday evening’s meeting.

The bad news: expenditures are projected to be $1.65 million higher than revenues. The good news, however, is that the system is still expected to finish next fiscal year with a $4.5 million surplus. Helping soften the blow is an anticipated beginning balance of $6.2 million at the end of September, 2013. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Demopolis City Schools CFO Evelyn James shared a breakdown with the board that showed 64% of projected revenues coming from the state, 22% from local sources – primarily taxes – and the remainder from federal and other sources.

More than half of the expenditures – 55% – will be spent for instructional purposes, with instructional support taking the second largest slice of the pie. Among the other expense categories are operations and maintenance, auxiliary services, general administrative and debt service.

In other matters Monday, the board learned that a delegation from Demopolis High School will soon travel to Auburn to learn more about block scheduling. DHS principal Dr. Tony Speegle said he want to explore the possibility, but acknowledged that there are pros and cons to block scheduling. One of the main advantages is more time in each class period, he said.

“Our teachers work hard and prepare, but it’s hard to get it all into 48 minutes,” he said. “They do it, but it’s very difficult.”

Speegle, as well as former DHS principal Leon Clark, recognized DHS librarian Cynthia Whitlock for earning the Library And Media Program (LAMP) award for excellence.

“You don’t just sign your name and get this award,” Speegle said. Whitlock was present to receive the board’s congratulations.

The board also approved the system’s 2013-14 capital plan, approved an addendum allowing for the addition of an AP biology program and expansion of AP chemistry, and approved a U.S. Jones field trip to a play in Meridian, Miss., in October.

The BOE approved the hiring of Westside Elementary special education aide Patricia Harris and DHS lunchroom worker Victoria Sharpe, approved Gabrielle Essex as a volunteer girls basketball coach and approved FMLA maternity leave for Demopolis Middle School teacher Blythe Smith.