City school board holds 1st FY2020 budget hearing

Cullman City Schools CFO Russell Raney gives a presentation to the board during Monday's proposed budget hearing for the upcoming fiscal year. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City School Board held its first proposed budget hearing for the upcoming fiscal year Monday, with its regular board meeting following shortly after the hearing. Chief Financial Officer of Cullman City Schools, Russell Raney, gave a presentation to the board on the upcoming budget and changes from the previous year. Outside of the 4% pay raise for all employees put into effect by the state, Raney reported no major changes for the upcoming budget.

The official General Fund Synopsis from Cullman City Schools reads:

“The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the school district. This fund includes the majority of state and local revenues and related expenditures, except for those required to be accounted for in a different fund type.

“The primary source of state revenues is derived from the State of Alabama Education Trust Fund. Act #2019-403 passed by the Alabama State Legislature during the 2019 regular legislative session, appropriated $7.1 billion of the Education Trust Fund in support of public education for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020. For K-12 public education, this reflects an increase in funding for the Foundation Program of $470 million, when compared to the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019. The State Education Trust receives the majority of its funding from sales and income tax, which are more susceptible to changes in economic conditions.

“Cullman City Schools state allocations through the Foundation Program increased by $1,052,543 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, when compared to fiscal year 2019. This increase is attributed to a slight rise in ADM, resulting in 1.47 more state funded certified units and the state mandated 4% pay raise.

“In order to receive funding from the State Education Trust Fund through the Foundation Program, all school systems must provide a 10.0 mill property tax equivalency match. Cullman City Schools match to participate in the Foundation Program is $3,215,450 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020 an increase of $191,640.

“Budgeted revenues and other financing sources in the general fund increase by $716,186 or 2.6% for fiscal year 2020. This increase is due primarily to the additional Foundation Program funding for the pay raise and an increase in budgeted revenues from local tax sources. The increase in budgeted local revenue is derived primarily from the increase in sales tax appropriations. The City of Cullman appropriates one cent of sales tax to Cullman City Schools, which reflects $3.6 million in revenue for fiscal year 2020. Additionally, local revenue budgets increased in county wide property and sales taxes that are shared with other county districts on the basis of enrollment. As Cullman’s student enrollment has increased relative to the county, so has its proportionate share of these revenues.

“Budgeted General Fund expenditures and other fund uses increased by $727,169, or 2.7% for fiscal year 2020. This is due primarily to the pay raise and the associated employer benefits. The school district continues to transfer $550,000 to the capital projects fund for roofing needs/turf replacement and for future building projects.

“The General Fund projected ending fund balance as of September 30, 2020 is $6,537,692. This represents approximately 2.9 months of operations in the General Fund. Local boards of education are required by act of the Alabama State Legislature to develop a plan to establish and maintain a minimum reserve fund equal to one month’s operation expenses. The Board of Education has established a goal of a three month’s operating reserve.”

The board will hold a second budget hearing in September before next month’s regular board meeting. To watch Raney’s full presentation, check out The Cullman Tribune’s Facebook page at

The regularly scheduled board meeting followed the proposed budget hearing and Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson got things started with a few recognitions. Cullman County 2019 PALS (People Against a Littered State) Beautification Awards were presented to Cullman High School, West Elementary, the City Board of Education’s Central Office, East Elementary and Cullman City Primary School.

A Cullman High student, Grant Holland, was recognized next for receiving an International Thespian Festival Superior for a Solo Musical Performance and he was joined by CHS Theatre Director Wayne Cook and Choir Director Sarah Jane Skinner.

After recognizing Holland, Cullman High School Athletic Director Mark Stephens and Cullman City Schools Athletic Director Mark Britton were recognized by Patterson after CHS earned the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Sportsmanship Award in July.

See below for Monday night’s full agenda:

Cullman City School Board Agenda- Aug. 19, 2019 by TheCullmanTribune on Scribd

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