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Oktibbeha schools on budget despite higher fuel costs


Bonnie Coblentz



All board members were present for April''s regular business meeting of the Oktibbeha County School District where the board got a good budget update despite high fuel costs. 


The meeting was originally set for West Oktibbeha High School but moved to earlier in the day at the central office to avoid the bad weather. 


In his budget status update, Superintendent James Covington said that actual revenues were on target with anticipated revenues. 


"We''re still working within that budget to not exceed our revenue," Covington said. 


Fuel prices are making it difficult, and Covington said he will have to bring some budget amendments in the coming meetings to cover much higher transportation costs. 


"Based on what we''ve spent this far, we will exceed the money we budgeted for (fuel) this year by $20,000 to $25,000," Covington said. "We have to look at other line items to see what we can reduce." 


Overall, however, the budget is looking good, and Covington said the district should finish the year with an 8 percent fund balance. This exceeds the 7 percent fund balance the Mississippi Department of Education requires. 


Two other items of business were postponed for a later meeting. The school board set Saturday, April 16 as a school day to make up for one of the four days lost this year to snow. Covington said they may have to reschedule the make-up day because of school activities already planned for that day. 


The meting was shortened because of the meeting time change, so Covington postponed until the next meeting scheduled state of the schools reports. 


Among the needs to be addressed during these reports, which will help the board with budget planning, are new buses. Covington said he is looking to recommend the district buy four new buses and four used, 2004 buses. 


The board will meet again May 2 for their regular meeting, but a special meeting should be called before that time.




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