AMORY – For the second year in a row, the Amory School District is requesting a zero percent additional increase for its Fiscal Year ‘20-’21 budget.

“The state law allows us to go up to seven percent without a referendum. In the past, we’ve had to request that before because of financial needs, but this is the second year in a row when we’ve been able to ask for a zero percent increase, which is a good place to be,” said district superintendent Ken Byars during July 16’s public hearing about the new budget.

The net ad valorem request the district is requesting for operations is $3,809,327.

“It is not a whole lot more than last year’s request. It’s about $4,300 more than last year,” said district business manager Leslie Maranto.

She said the school district’s millage is 48, but it fluctuates depending on the value of a mill, which is $78,000.

“I say this jokingly but I’m serious. Leslie and I get called cheap all the time because we’re not in the habit of spending money; we’re in the habit of saving money. We got in that habit based on our previous financial troubles and we’re doing very well financially as of today. With the unknowns of what’s coming up in the next few years, I’m glad we’re there. I can see us getting into our fund balance within the next couple of years,” Byars said.

The total revenue for the Amory School District is $16,442,657, with Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds being the biggest funding source at 50 percent.

The estimated amount of funding is $8,187,478, but the Mississippi Legislature is still determining it and the Chickasaw Allocation, which comprises one percent of the district’s budget.

“Usually, this number is set in April, and we know exactly what we’re getting, but this is based on what we received last year. At one point, they said we’d get level funding but at this point, this is our best guess right now. It could be more or it could be less than that,” Maranto said of MAEP funds.

Ad valorem taxes are the second biggest funding source at 24 percent, with federal programs, food service, debt, special revenue and activities also contributing.

The district was allocated $470,104 through the CARES Act, which will be spent on technology, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. Sixty percent will be devoted to devices and other technology for distance learning.

The total of expenses is $16,481,705, with salaries and benefits being the highest category at $11,516,755. The Amory School District has 13 National Board for Professional Teaching Standards-certified teacher who get supplements, which are reimbursed by the state. All together the reimbursement is $85,000.

Other expenses include instructional expenses such as supplies, support services, non-instructional services and debt service.

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