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City schools will not declare shortfall


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PDF file File: CMSD FY 2014-2015 budget

Sarah Fowler



The Columbus Municipal School District expects to spend more money than it takes in during the 2014-15 school year. Even so, the school board will not declare a budget shortfall. 


During a public budget hearing Friday morning, Chief Financial Officer Tammy McGarr reviewed the district's budget request for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year. According to McGarr, the district has a projected total expenditure of $44,418,149. However, the district's projected revenue is $43,118,978. 


Despite the nearly $1.3 million disparity between expenses and revenue, McGarr said the district's finances were in good standing. 


"There is a very good explanation for this," McGarr said. 


The district has additional funds coming in through various sources, including the state, MDA loans and indirect cost transfers, she said. McGarr handed out a detailed financial report to support her claims.  


"Our actual revenue and other sources will exceed our budgeted expenditures by $25,797 for the general fund," she said. 


Referencing the shortfall, McGarr said the district actually had more funds than needed. 


"Our revenue for the debt-service fund comes from ad valorem," McGarr said. "In past years, we have collected more in ad valorem than we needed for our debt obligation, so we currently have funds available in our debt service fund. These funds are, by law, only to be used for the repayment of debt. Because we already have these funds in fund balance, we do not have to request these funds in our ad valorem debt levy.  


Board member Jason Spears asked McGarr for clarification asking, "The funds you're referring to are not coming from district maintenance, or as some refer to it as the piggy bank? 


"That's correct," she said. 


Board member Greg Lewis said that he understood McGarr's point but asked if there would, in fact, be a shortfall declared. 


"I know that a shortfall will not be issued but do we have a shortfall?" Lewis asked. 


"We are anticipating not to receive everything that we asked for in our debt service levy but we have funds available to cover that," McGarr said. "However, in our operations we are actually showing an escrow, which means we have collected more than what we are requesting." 


"So we do not have a shortfall?" Lewis asked. 


"Not in our operations," McGarr said. "We may be short in our debt service but we do have funds available on hand to cover that, so we will not have to declare a shortfall."


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.



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