On Dec. 5, the Bartlett Board of Education approved the spending projection, which was drawn from the municipal school district feasibility study provided by Southern Educational Strategies (SES). See the full study online, as published in January 2012.
Revenue from the city’s half-cent local option sales tax enacted in 2012 will pay for the first-quarter expenses. That tax had raised $3,841,773 through this November, according to Mark Brown, Bartlett’s chief administrative officer. Of that total, $1,030,142 has been spent or set aside to date, mostly for legal fees for the pending municipal schools lawsuit and consulting fees.
The mayor and aldermen planned to consider this initial budget on Dec. 10.
The school board also called a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 to hear recommendations on three school superintendent candidates identified by SES. The superintendent’s hiring will be the next big step, followed by staffing the rest of the central office and hiring teachers. The goal is to open city schools by summer 2014.
School board chair Jeff Norris emphasized that the projections for January through March 2014 are an allocation, not a budget. That means the money reverts to the city if all is not used, and he is confident the funding will be more than enough.
“I do not assume we will spend anywhere near this amount of money,” he said.
The first-quarter funding includes $518,800 in salary and benefits for the district’s central office, with the remainder for travel, technology, dues/memberships, consulting, and other expenses (such as office space leasing, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and in-house legal council). The numbers may be reduced depending on when hiring is done, Norris said. Projections assume personnel in place as of Jan. 1.