Budget Committee moves to balance Head Start budget

As part of the Budget Committee’s monthly board meeting, there were many different budget amendments as the various departments wrapped up their fiscal year, but one section in particular required roughly 20 budget amendments in order to resolve: Carter County Schools.

In particular, the Head Start fund became a focal point of the conversation, as expenditures exceeded budgeted expectations.

Deputy Director Michael Kennedy said the deficit partially came from a continued series of purchases even when told to stop.

“We tried to cut their purchases off in March, but they continued spending via check requests and other things, therefore they cannot pay a large deficit,” Kennedy said. “We are having to take money from general purpose schools’ unsigned fund balance to cover that deficit.”

He said part of the issues comes from the different fiscal calendars the Head Start Program operates on.

Because the program uses entirely federal money, it runs on a January-December calendar, while the county runs on a July-June calendar. This normally creates a deficit as spending does not correctly sync up, but Director Brad Burke said previous years had more money with which to compensate for it.

The committee did not specify the exact amount of overspending that took place, though the committee voted in favor of transferring $79,641.65 from the unsigned general purpose school fund to balance the budget.

“At the beginning of January, that is when they are seeing the money again,” Kennedy said.

The committee said the excess spending was circumvented by the use of check requests and credit card purchases.

“This is something that does need to be taken care of,” Commissioner Ross Garland said.

Members of the committee pointed out many of the purchases had already been made before bringing anything to the office, meaning the credit card purchases then had to be paid for regardless.

The Budget Committee set Thursday, June 13, as the date for a full budget workshop ahead of the full County Commission meeting on Monday, June 17. The workshop will take place at 6 p.m. at the County Courthouse, and is open to the public to attend.

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