City school board holds 1st FY 2023 budget hearing

Cullman City Schools Chief Financial Officer James Brumley presents the FY 2023 budget to the school board Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Schools Chief Financial Officer James Brumley presented the 2023 fiscal year budget to the board Thursday. The first hearing of the budget provided a detailed explanation of funding sources and proposed expenditures for the period of Oct. 1, 2022-Sept. 30, 2023. 

The breakdown of the sources of funding for the schools are: 

  • State $22,824,367 46.5% 
  • Federal $9,043,756 18.4% 
  • Local $16,843,696 34.3% 
  • Other $296,654 0.7% 

The local funding sources are: 

  • City sales tax $4.84 million 
  • County sales tax $1.81 million 
  • Ad valorem tax $6.35 million 

City sales tax has increased almost 8% in the past year and county sales tax is up 16.5%, an indicator of Cullman’s continued growth. Ad valorem, or property, taxes saw a 2.5% growth. 

In addition to the statewide measure to increase all public school employees’ wages by 4%, the city schools district also provided an additional 2% wage increase to teachers and a 5%-15% increase for support staff for the budget, a $1 million investment by the school board. 

Due to the wage increases, the reserve fund of $930,000, or 2.3 month reserve, is not expected to stretch as far in previous years. “Your one-month operating cost now is $2.8 million. That’s $190,000 more a month than it was last year, which was $2.28 million,” shared Brumley. “I think, going out on a limb, I think we can make it up. I think we can make it up this year with what we have.” 

While the remaining amounts for the building projects of two of the city’s schools are required to be listed in the FY 2023 budget, a portion of each project will roll over to the FY 2024 budget. The capital projects are budgeted as follows for FY 2023: 

  • Cullman Middle School $22,301,190 
  • Cullman City Primary School $11,887,473 

Brumley provided a breakdown of the budget’s spending, with the exclusion of the construction projects: 

  • Instructional $24,731,457 65.31% 
  • Debt Service $1,930,398 6.81% 
  • General Administration $1,647,673 4.28% 
  • Operations and Maintenance $3,041,614 14.65% 
  • Auxiliary Services $1,886,160 4.72% 
  • Other (Preschool/Head Start) $1,552,987 4.23% 

In other news, the board approved a request for Heather Livingston to drive a truck for the Cullman High School band to performances and approved a contract with BSN Sports. 

The personnel report was approved including the following: 

  • Retirement of Sandi Allred- instructional assistant at Cullman City Primary School  
  • Resignation of Cheyenne Sharp- Child Nutrition Program (CNP) worker at Cullman City Schools 
  • Supplement to Chad Shannon- Cullman Middle School softball assistant coach 
  • Supplement to Bre Turner- Cullman High School Dance Team coach 
  • FMLA extension for Amy Emmert 

The following conditional employment contracts were approved: 

  • Vickie Buckelew- CNP worker  
  • Leslie Dawson- CNP operations associate 
  • Hope Bowen- Extended Day Program assistant at Cullman City Primary School 
  • Jennifer Aguilar-Contreras- Extended Day Program assistant at Cullman City Primary School 

The second budget hearing will be held Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. at the central office. The next regular board meeting will be Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. at Cullman City Primary School. 

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