The margin was tight as the Bibb County school board looked at first projections for the 2016-17 school year budget.
With expected revenue of just more than $201 million dollars and expenditures totaling almost $196 million, around $5.1 million is expected as an end balance for the general fund, which is well below the 8 percent required under board rules.
"What we shared with you is what it is we would like to do but we can't do it all," Superintendent Curtis Jones said to board members.
Tom Hudson, who is wrapping up his third term on the board, said he had called for millage-rate increases for the last "two or three years" to avoid such circumstances. He said other board members declined to take that step for political reasons.
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"It was what taxpayers wanted to hear, but I knew if we kept spending more than we were taking in, we would get to this point," Hudson said.
Within the budget, there was a desired one-time bonus of 1 percent for all certified teachers as well as salary adjustments for bus drivers to match surrounding counties. Governor Nathan Deal had budgeted for a decrease in austerity cuts, which is intended to result in a 3 percent pay raise for teachers but still left systems below the funding required based on the state's Quality Basic Education formula.
"Based upon the early indication, the early numbers, it may be more difficult for us to get to that 3 percent," said Chief Financial Officer Ron Collier.
Other relief for teachers was built into the projection, though. Of 29 additional teachers planned, seven would bolster efforts to put more art, music and physical education teachers for "connections" classes at elementary schools.
That would free up regular classroom teachers for more planning time during the day, Collier said, while also providing programs that board members said were essential.
"We like to provide 'connections' teachers to our elementary schools," he said.
The board will hold another work session to discuss the budget on April 19.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.