Photo by Jeff Thompson.
0913 hoover budget hearing antee
Cathy Antee, Hoover City Schools’ chief financial officer, listens to citizen comments during a 2014 budget hearing on Sept. 5.
The Hoover City School System is facing another year of tightening its belt to keep pace with falling revenue. Due to increased enrollment and declines in state funding and property tax income, the school system has been working under a constricted budget since 2008. Previous cost-cutting measures such as increasing classroom sizes, delaying building projects and refinancing debts have saved over $80 million during that period. However, the school system’s expenditures are still outstripping its income by approximately $17 million, and further reductions must be made.
“I think we’re much more a culture of conservatism when it comes to our expenditures,” said Cathy Antee, Hoover City Schools’ chief financial officer.
At a public hearing on Sept. 5, Antee laid out the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. That budget was approved at the Board meeting Sept. 10.
This year’s budget must make room for several new expenses, including a state-mandated 2 percent pay raise for teachers and increased debt service payments, along with the normal costs of running a growing school system.
To offset this spending, the budget includes cuts to funds for transportation and operations, as well as downsizing custodial services and certain aid programs. Additionally, the school system is considering dipping into a reserve fund balance to soften the blow of the budget deficit. This fund has previously been used to cover building projects and losses from the 2007 economic collapse, but using it to cover normal operational costs is not a sustainable solution.
“That’s not the place we want to be,” Antee said.
The most recent version of the 2013-2014 budget can be found on the Hoover City Schools’ Finance Department website.