For the tenth consecutive year, the city of Dothan’s budget proposal does not include an increase in cash appropriations to the school system.
Dothan City Schools received a large increase in its allotment from the $2.8 million it received in 2009, during a national recession, to $3,738,286 in 2010. The cash appropriation has remained at that level ever since, despite recent suggestions to increase funding by current school officials.
Since then, the city earmarked $50,275 for band, academic travel and athletic programs, $130,453 for repairs and maintenance supplies, and $861,522 for water, electricity and sewer costs. The remaining $2,696,036 is not designated for specific use.
The city has marginally increased the monies spent on behalf of the school system for benefits such as school crossing guards, insurance, and printing for stamps. They also include a new line item for the city’s part in funding the new school protection officer program at $364,843 for 2020 and $383,250 for 2021.
After 2020, both the schools and the city will retire a joint debt for a 1999 General Obligation Warrant Issue, a bond issued to build elementary schools after a final $1.3 million payment split between the city and school system.
It’s important to note that the city also makes supplemental budgets every fiscal year to place surplus revenue funds and grant money that sometimes benefits the school system. Over the years, the city has paid for the construction of sidewalks adjacent to Morris Slingluff, Cloverdale, Faine, Girard, Selma Street, and Grandview Elementary schools through the Community Development Block Grant program.
In addition to yearly appropriations, in-kind services are rendered to the schools such as resource officers in schools, lighting for ball fields, road or small resurfacing projects, sewer work, security lighting, underground facilities, and the transformer to the multipurpose building that was constructed with bond funds. Also, the city continuously provides security, electricity, restroom supplies, field/facility preparation and cleanup of recreation facilities and ball fields provided by Leisure Services staff.
In the 2018 fiscal year, eight school resource officers cost the city $886,722.
The proposed budget also outlined how the city would spend a $35.4 million bond for Honeysuckle Road corridor improvements and Rip Hewes Stadium upgrades. Rip Hewes Stadium is the lone football stadium Dothan City schools use for practice and football games.
Additionally, the city gives the schools a percentage of monthly sales and property tax collections, which make up the majority of its revenue from local funds. In 2018, Dothan City Schools budgeted it would receive around $23 million from the county and city combined over the course of the fiscal year.
Dothan City Schools will host its first public budget hearing Thursday at Beverlye Intermediate School after its scheduled work session at 2 p.m.