SP district reports budget surplus 6/19/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 19, 2015

SP district reports budget surplus

By Rupert Howell
School trustees, during Tuesday night’s monthly meeting, saw preliminary drawings of the new ninth grade wing at South Panola High School and heard their superintendent predict a $250,000 surplus at the end of the fiscal year.

Although the district’s budget meetings are scheduled for later this month and July, Superintendent Tim Wilder, with the blessing of SP financial director David Rubenstien, said a $600,000 donation from South Mississippi Electric Power Association and principals and department directors “doing a good job,” with their budgets, will allow a surplus after a $1.2 million deficit was projected at the beginning of the budget year.

Wilder reminded trustees of several successes that have occurred during the year along with the now predicted surplus and later asked his board to consider a three percent across the board increase for school personnel not included in recent salary increases.

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Those increases, if approved, would affect classified employees such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, clerical and custodial as well as principals and department directors. Wilder predicted a $140,000 increase for approving the recommendation including fringe benefits.

The proposed ninth grade building will have from 18 to 20 classrooms and be located on the east side of South Panola High School with classrooms running west toward the high school and north toward Tiger Drive.

The longer end of the L-shaped structure would connect, by hallway or canopy, to the west side of the high school where the gymnasium, lunchroom and common areas are located.

Wilder explained the facility would isolate, guard and help to nurture ninth graders predicting it would eventually serve big dividends.

“Ninth graders will spend pretty much all day with students their age,” Wilder stated.

A preliminary estimate of construction is $4.3 million with Wilder stating that figures given were, “Very conservative.”

“I think it’s going to come in cheaper than this,” Financial Director Rubenstien stated.

During Tuesday’s meeting, trustees also approved Wilder’s request to take bids on paving several parking areas in the district including a new parking area on Boothe Street next to the Elementary School, the district office parking lot also on Boothe Street and the visitor parking area at the football field.

Wilder stated paving the lot at Batesville Elementary may help relieve at least some of the congestion on College Street during the morning and afternoon when school takes in and lets out.

Trustees will not take action on the salary increase request or construction plans until their next meeting.