Birmingham BOE achieves required reserve fund but still faces bu - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Birmingham BOE achieves required reserve fund but still faces budget issues

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The Birmingham city school system continues to deal with budget challenges.

One of their biggest problems has been getting enough money in the system's reserve fund. Wednesday night the board of education announced they reached that milestone with the 2015 budget.

"When we close out his fiscal year we would have indeed met that one month required fund balance," explained Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

He said the school board will have more than $16 million in its state required reserve fund, however, it is money that can't be touched. Still, a major accomplishment for the cash-strapped school system.

"We're in a place that we haven't been in a number of years," added Witherspoon.

But it wasn't all good at the budget hearing. Witherspoon said board members are still facing a number of challenges. Student enrollment continues to fall and there's not enough money to grow the programs that could help attract new ones.

"Foreign languages, fine arts, and those types of things," explained Witherspoon.

During the hearing, the BOE's Chief Financial Officer pointed to one major problem: the system is too dependent on state dollars.

"The bulk of our funding comes from the state foundation program and it's not even at 2008 levels," added Witherspoon.

Instead, he wants to see more local funding and hopes that in February Birmingham voters will agree. That's when a tax increase for city schools will be on the ballot.

"An additional 3 mil increase that would add seven to $8 million to those local revenues that we currently receive," Witherspoon said.

The Birmingham BOE will vote on the budget during its meeting Tuesday.

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