Fiscal 2015 budget talks dominated the governing body’s work session and meeting last week at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School in Sandy Springs. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
“It is a process,” said Fulton County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa. “And, it’s a process for a couple of reasons — [First] it is the most important document we produce annually to show where our investments are and [second] how we’re using taxpayer dollars to make sure we’re moving the needle for our kids.”
Last week’s discussion centered on special revenue funds incorporated into next year’s budget. That includes funds dispersed for school nutrition — the largest federally funded program — by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nearly $25 million is available for fiscal 2015.
The district’s program has made “great progress” in meeting its goals for the current school year, said Alyssia Wright, executive director of Fulton County School Nutrition.
“Through January, the number of breakfast meals served has increased 3.42 percent, the average health inspection score for the district is 98 percent and the program has only expended 95 percent of revenues earned,” Wright said.
Numbers crunched for the other special revenue funds as part of last week’s budget work session involved Title I and Title VIB funds — which represent 80.3 percent of the $42.9 million received from federal grants. The lottery pre-K program represents nearly 65 percent of the $8.7 million received for state grants.
In other business, Heards Ferry Elementary is one of 19 district schools selected to receive seed fund monies. Close to $3 million is set to be distributed to the recipients — awarded for innovative classroom initiatives by the Georgia General Assembly.
Heards Ferry is scheduled to use the funds to apply to become an International Baccalaureate primary years school. If granted, it would feed into the IB curriculum already in its feeder middle and high schools. “Supporting creative ideas and innovative practices are essential to customizing each school’s program to fit the needs of their community,” Avossa said. “Seed funds are an investment, directed by our business community, in creating enriching and innovative projects that are aligned with each school’s strategic plan.”