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Interest transfer helps balance school budget


Bonnie Coblentz



STARKVILLE -- The Oktibbeha County School District transferred nearly half a million dollars to their general fund so they can finish out the 2009-2010 budget year in good financial shape. 


The school board took the action Monday night to transfer $460,075 from their 16th Section Land interest fund to the district maintenance fund, which is the district''s primary operating fund. All board members were present for the meeting, which also saw the board discuss ongoing testing, summer school, student wellness and retention. 


Verlie Floyd, OCSD business manager, said about $1.1 million will remain in the interest fund after this transfer is made. The district has more than $900,000 in 16th Section Land principal. By law, school districts have borrow against their principal for certain capital expenditures, paying back the principal with interest. However, they are not as limited on how they can spend the interest, and this can be used for recurring expenses and does not have to be repaid. 


Superintendent James Covington explained the transfer. 


"We still have a couple months of payroll and expenses over the summer, such as maintenance and getting our facilities ready for fall," Covington said. "As of June 30, we should be in good financial standing." 


With the balance transfer, Covington said he expects the district to have a fund balance of about 6 percent to close out the year. The state requires school district to maintain 5 percent in reserves this year and 7 percent next year. The county school district took that state standard a step higher and set their own goal of 6 percent this year and 8 percent for 2010-2011. 


The board unanimously approved the transfer on Cynthia Ward''s motion and Charles Avant''s second. 


The school board approved a policy for grades three-12 that will allow students who fail a subject by four points or less, but pass the state test for that same subject, to be promoted to the next grade. Such a policy already exists for grades seven-12. 


Assistant Superintendent Jerome Smith explained the policy to board members and said it should be a useful tool for retention and dropout prevention. 


"I think this will be a very big incentive," board member Yvette Rice said in making the motion to adopt the policy. Ward seconded this motion, which passed unanimously.




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