The Hancock County School District on Monday honored several of its retirees. From front left, Tina Ellzey, Sheryl Destarkey, Tammy Moran, Katherine Larsen, Debbie Estapa, Daren Reinhart, Debbie Johnson, Cindy Ladner, and Tonya Perniciaro.  From back left is Superintendent Alan Dedeaux. 

The Hancock County School District Board of Education on Monday hosted its 2019-2020 budget hearing.

District business manager Denise Ladner gave the board a list of items to keep in mind with this year's budget.

She said the value of a mil is about $357,000 and the district continues to have the lowest on the coast, 45.53.

On the expenses side, Ladner said that the state increased the portion of the Public Employment Retirement System that the district must pay by about 17.45 percent, which will cost the district about $200,000.

Another state increase is the salary increases for teachers and teachers' assistants, which is funded through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

"However, keep in mind, they (the state) have never fully funded MAEP," she said.

Ladner told the board to "always anticipate" a cut in MAEP. She said that asking for a three percent increase in ad valorem, which the district is entitled to do, would help.

She also told the board to expect cuts in funding for IDEA and Title I.

Ladner also gave the board some district information. There are four elementary schools; one middle school; one high school; and one career technical center.

The personnel numbers for the past fiscal year are: 322 instructional positions; 70 instructional aides; 23 administrators; 60 cafeteria employees; 40 clerical positions; 73 transportation employees; and 12 other positions.

As of April, the total district enrollment was 4,438 students. The enrollment at the career technical center was 411, Ladner said.

The budget summary: Revenues $46,702,800 and expenditures of $47,642,725, Ladner said.

The district receives revenue from local sources including, ad valorem taxes, gaming taxes, school lunch, and earned interest.

If the district decided to request the same mil this year, it would receive an estimated $12,686,826 in Ad Valorem taxes; $360,000 in Homestead exemption; $20,820,121 from MAEP; and $755,900 from "other," for a total revenue of $34,622,847, Ladner said.

The 2020 anticipated expenses are $34,821,906, with a deficit of $199,059.

If the board decided to request a three per cent increase in ad valorem, that total would be about $13,078,216, Ladner said.

She also reminded the board the MAEP is anticipated to provide the $424,086 to cover the teachers' raises, which is still not confirmed.

Ladner said that the district's state sources of funding include MAEP, Homestead reimbursement, ad valorem tax reduction, vocational, and school lunch.

If MAEP fully funds the district for the FY 2020 school year, that total would be about $22,437,758, Ladner said. Right now, the FY '20 school year allocation is $20,396,035, underfunding it by about $2,041,723.

The amount that MAEP has underfunded the district for the past 12 years is $22.4 million, Ladner said.

Ladner said that federal sources of income include, Title, school lunch program, E-Rate, IDEA (special education), preschool, and 16th section.

The district's expenses include: Utilities, property insurance, worker's compensation, liability insurance, salary supplements, substitutes, salaries for all staff not funded by the state, instructional budgets, alternative school, maintenance contracts, fiscal services, and support services, Ladner said.

With regards to debt service payments: The 2014 bond series will be paid off this year, Ladner said, which leaves the three mil note (year six of 14); QSCB note (year 10 of 14); 2012 bond series (year seven of eight); and the recent 2019 bond series (year one of 10).

Ladner said that additions to the FY '20 budget include: Increase in retirement contribution; additional HVAC position; five new teaching units; increase in teachers' and assistants' salaries; and driver's education (should the board decide to bring it back).

In a separate matter, the board also recognized several of the district's retirees.

Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said there were 19 retirees this year.

"You love children, that's what you devoted your life to and we're just blessed that you chose Hancock County schools to work," Dedeaux said. "You made our school district better, you made our community better, you've made our students so much better and we're heartbroken and it hurts our hearts to see you guys go, but we know that you have some great things out there in front of you."

Along with a certificate, the district also gave the retirees a sign made by the students in the district's welding department.

"Out of the 19 retirees this year, we have over 504 years in education total," Dedeaux said. "Of the 504, 407 years are within our district."

Dedeaux recognized the following retirees on Monday: Sheryl Destarkey (27 years total); Tina Ellzey (25 years total); Debbie Estapa (33 years total); Debbie Johnson (34 years total); Cindy Ladner (23 years total); Katherine Larsen (33 years total); Tammy Moran (30 years total); Tonya Perniciaro (32 years total); and Daren Reinhart (35 years total).

"I've worked with most of you in the schools, community, and different places," Dedeaux said. "It's going to be tough going in those schools and not seeing you guys, but your spirit will be there."

The next meeting is scheduled for July 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the district office, located at 17304 Hwy. 603, Kiln.

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