Trousdale County Schools continue to be in better financial shape than anticipated for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

At the Education Committee’s meeting on Feb. 4, Director of Schools Clint Satterfield presented members with a quarterly budget report that listed the district’s revenues and expenditures through Dec. 31, 2020 and how they compared to the same point the previous year.

Through December the schools’ portion of property tax had come in approximately $72,000 over the previous year and local option sales tax was up by $49,000, Satterfield told commissioners. State revenue through the Basic Education Program (BEP), which is based on the number of students, was up $106,000 over the previous year to date.

“We’ve brought in $227,000 more than we did at this time last year,” Satterfield said.

The district’s expenditures were $163,554 less through the end of December than at the same time the previous year. Satterfield noted that some positions had not been filled, such as educational assistants and food service, because of the hybrid learning model being used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have spent less than last year, so when we compare our revenue to expenditures we’re $381,525 to the good. I think that’s a good financial statement. I don’t know what the next quarter will bring, but I think that’s encouraging,” he said.

“We didn’t know where we would be when we were budgeting last year because of the pandemic.

Chairman Dwight Jewell agreed, calling it “a miracle” to see local sales tax numbers remaining as strong as they have.

“We have fared well as a county,” Jewell said.

Satterfield also reported on legislation that was approved by the General Assembly during its special session and how it related to education.

Included in the new legislation was “hold harmless,” or not holding teachers accountable for student performance on standardized testing because of learning loss, and the requiring of summer learning camps to address reading.

The legislature approved a 2% addition to the BEP component of teacher salaries in non-recurring funding, and Jewell said he thought the legislature passed extra funding for raises for non-BEP teachers. In Trousdale County the BEP funds 87.71 out of 103.5 certified positions, according to Satterfield.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers agreed with Jewell, citing a communication from the Tennessee County Surveys Association that stated $12.8 million in statewide, non-recurring funding for non-BEP teachers was approved.

The state funding will likely be paid as one-time bonuses to teachers, and whether to continue funding them will likely come up during state budget discussions.

Satterfield said there was also additional federal funding of $960,000 coming to the district, which could be spent only on learning loss or deferred maintenance projects.

“We’ll have to budget the learning loss piece of the federal money to complement what the state doesn’t pay for,” Satterfield said. “We want to stretch each dollar and make it last as long as we can in the right places.”

Replacing windows at the middle school and upgrading the district’s servers and routers for better Internet access were possibilities mentioned for the federal funding.

Satterfield told commissioners that work on the roof at Jim Satterfield Middle School was nearing completion, with the exception of the gymnasium. The rest of the building could be finished within two weeks, it was reported.

The school system has made the first year’s payment on the roof project and the county will pick up the remainder of the tab, which totaled roughly $1.05 million.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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