ALBANY -- Dougherty County Schools Executive Director for Finance and Operations Robert Lloyd told the DCSS School Board Finance Committee Tuesday that the system is currently running $1,451,829 in the black on the 2011-12 budget and that he anticipates to be $2,197,541 under budget when the fiscal year ends on June 30.
Most of the savings have been realized in instructional expenditures, which are currently running at $1,713,504 under budget. Transportation costs, however, are running in the red.
"The greatest line item over budget right now is in transportation," Lloyd said, pointing out the $681,208 overrun."Most of that expense is due to rising fuel costs and overtime."
While the current budget appears to be under control, the FY 2012-13 budget is in limbo. The system is anticipating at least a $9 million shortfall in that budget.
"We're still working on the 2012-13 budget now," Lloyd said. "Everything is still on the table. We will meet with the board members later."
Lloyd has suggested meeting with board members individually or in pairs to discuss details and options for the new budget. That suggestion clearly gave committee members James Bush and Carol Tharin pause.
"I am not comfortable meeting individually or in pairs with Mr. Lloyd to discuss the budget," Bush, the BOE's chairman, said. "The media needs to be aware of our budget discussions, and I think meeting individually or in small groups seems to lack the transparency the public deserves."
"I think we need to have a called session of the full board to discuss this budget out in the open and with public input," she said.
Bush has it within his power to call a special meeting of the board to discuss the next budget in an open session.
"I think we need the public's input into this budget; the more informed the board is the better off everybody will be," Bush said. "Then we can get together with Mr. Lloyd and see what we can and cannot do. We'll discuss it at the briefing Monday, but I am leaning toward calling for a public session to discuss the budget."
In other business, the committee voted to move several items before the full board, including:
-- A contract for basic maintenance of cabling and network support;
-- A new software contract for IT work orders and contract management;
-- A contract to increase Internet bandwidth with the school system.
Later, the Personnel Committee, comprising the Finance Committee members, were updated by Lloyd on fingerprinting of school system employees, as required by state law.
Lloyd said the system had not fingerprinted new hires over the past two and a half years, and was working to take the digital fingerprints of more than 800 employees.
The employee fingerprints will be used in background checks.
Lloyd also informed the board that the system had narrowed the list of potential replacements for fired Human Resources Director Tracy Williams to three candidates and that he will send the names to Superintendent Joshua Murfree for his recommendation to the board.