By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Future capital outlay needs and funding needs were the topics of discussion at last Thursday’s meeting of the county’s Education Oversight Committee.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield presented committee members with a printout of current debt obligations by the school district, current fund balances and potential projects over the next two to three years.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield

According to Satterfield, the school system pays $341,150 toward debt on an annual basis, with a matching payment of $187,230 on the county’s part. That includes payments toward the high school, which will go away in 2022, energy efficiency improvements at all three schools, payment on which runs through 2030, and HVAC work at the elementary school, which runs through 2037.

The capital outlay needs Satterfield highlighted were, with estimated costs:

  • Roofing at the elementary ($140,000) and middle schools ($150,000);
  • Repaving the parking lot at the high school ($150,000);
  • Replacing doors at the middle school ($35,000); and
  • Increased health insurance costs for 2019-20 ($32,000).

“These are things we know that are on the horizon,” Satterfield said.

Satterfield also mentioned work on the football stadium, which has been discussed previously. An architect hired by the School Board mentioned last year that that project could cost in excess of $1 million.

The school system does have a solid fund balance but is dipping heavily into that for the current fiscal year, Satterfield said. As of July 1, 2018, the total school fund balance was $4,582,750 but is projected to be at $2,872,543 as of June 30, 2019. Of that, $1.736 million is restricted for certain uses and is not discretionary. The schools are projected to have $1.136 million in unrestricted fund balance come June 30.

“We’re putting a million something into renovations at the elementary school, putting heavy doors on the middle school, painting and other work,” Satterfield said. “Our expenditures are exceeding our revenue.”

Compounding the schools’ financial situation is a loss in state funding of the BEP (Basic Education Program) because of increased fiscal capacity (ability to pay) on the county’s part, due mainly to the CoreCivic prison in Trousdale County.

“We know we’ve lost a little over $300,000 from last year,” Satterfield said. “It’s a three-year calculation and Year 2 and 3 will require a solution.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.