- Vestavia Hills City Schools
Board of Education approves 2023-24 budget
September 13, 2023 -- The Vestavia Hills Board of Education on Monday approved its budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year which begins Oct. 1, 2023 and ends Sept. 30, 2024. The 2023-24 budget reflects the priorities of the Board which are summarized in the school system's three strategic plan goals. If you are interested in learning more about our budget and a slideshow breakdown of all expenditures, you can view it on the Financial Reports section of our website.
Below is a summary of the budget that focuses on the school system's four major revenue funds: General, Special Revenue, Capital, and Fiduciary/Expendable Trust.
The General Fund budget has estimated revenues of almost $95 million. More than half of all VHCS revenue comes from local taxes, and the vast majority of the rest is provided through the state budget. The additional state revenue from last year will largely cover the pay raise given to all VHCS employees for this school year. In total, approximately 80% of the budget is invested in salaries and benefits for employees.
General Fund expenditures are estimated to be $94.5 million. Expenditures are broken down by categories and include the following:
- Instructional services: Includes salaries and benefits for teachers (525 total) and paraprofessionals, along with extracurricular supplements, substitutes, classroom supplies/resources, and textbooks. Local revenue provides VHCS the ability to employ 109 more teachers than the state provides funding for. This enables the Board to invest more in the classroom by prioritizing staffing, class sizes, resources, and professional development.
- Instructional support services: Includes salaries and benefits for counselors, nurses, substitutes, technology, speech pathologists, reading coaches, librarians, principals, assistant principals, and bookkeepers. Additional line items covered in this category of the budget include contracts for specialized student support services, software and hardware technology purchases, and professional development.
- Operations and maintenance: Includes salaries and benefits for maintenance, School Resource Officers, and custodians. Additional line items include contracts for security-related services, maintenance service, (cutting lawns, landscaping, etc.), custodial supplies, and utilities.
- Auxiliary services: Includes salaries and benefits for bus drivers and bus aides. It also covers all other transportation expenses such as substitutes, fuel, insurance, and repairs.
- Debt service: This amount is the principal and interest payment on debt service from the Board of Education's 2016 bond issue for construction.
- Other expenditures: This covers salaries and benefits for preschool teachers along with preschool classroom supplies.
Special Revenue Fund
The Special Revenue Fund is money received through federal sources and required to be spent on certain expenditures: Title II and IV funds which are used for professional development, Title III which is used for English Language instruction, and Exceptional Education. The federal funds VHCS receives for exceptional education are approximately $1.5 million. VHCS invests an additional $11 million from the General Fund for the Exceptional Education program.
Revenue from the Capital Fund is provided by the state to support facility needs ($2.4 million). You can see a breakdown of the capital projects for this school year on slide 20 of the budget presentation. A few highlights to note:
- The majority of the capital budget is for debt service on a 10-year loan the Board borrowed in 2018 to finish construction at Louis Pizitz Middle School and Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge.
- Safety and security: VHCS received grant funds from the state this year to support projects related to campus safety and security. These projects will take place throughout the school year and summer.
- Accessibility: The school system is planning projects to address accessibility, primarily at Dolly Ridge, along with a few other smaller projects in the system.
- Arts education: The Board is allocating funds for much-needed, minor improvements to the auditorium and Arts classrooms at VHHS.
- Athletics: The Board is allocating funds to renovate a dressing room to add showers for female student-athletes at VHHS. The school is currently renting a shower trailer for female student-athletes to use.
- Adaptive P.E. equipment is being funded based on identified needs on various school playgrounds.
- There are funds being set aside for repair of heating and air conditioning equipment, painting, and furniture as needed.
- VHCS will be using supplemental funds from the state to purchase Chromebooks that are part of the school system's annual device replacement plan.
- VHCS will be using state funds earmarked for transportation to purchase a new bus.
- One line item that does not currently have a funding source is energy management improvements. The Board of Education is applying for a grant from the state to fund this project. Should the school system receive the grant, VHCS will install LED interior and exterior lights on all campuses that do not yet have them. This project will also add a system for monitoring heating and air conditioning units to allow the school system's maintenance team to more quickly diagnose problems. Finally, VHCS will make improvements to efficiencies in water usage. In total, these projects will save the system approximately $500,000 annually.
- The five-year capital plan includes projects outlined in 1Rebel 1Future for which there is no funding currently available but remain a priority (such as security, accessibility, heating and air conditioning, roof replacements, kitchen renovations, fine arts, and the wrestling space at VHHS).
This fund is for all of the fees and fundraising done throughout the year, estimated at $2.25 million.