HomeFeaturedCompton trying to ensure smooth budget process this year

Compton trying to ensure smooth budget process this year

By Brandon Shields

Managing Editor

While the Madison County Commission streamlined its budgeting process mainly in 2023 and the effects of that are beginning to show with more efficiency, the Jackson-Madison County Schools Board budget committee is trying to ensure its efficiency with its governing body as well.

Jason Compton was elected to the school board two years ago and was ready to serve however needed when he first came on.

“When I was first elected, my goal was to serve wherever I saw fit,” Compton said. “Wherever they needed me, I was ready to be there and do my due diligence in however I was serving.”

Year 2 started last September, and when the executive committee of Superintendent Marlon King and Board Chairman James “Pete” Johnson were making their committee selections, they looked to Compton to chair the budget committee.

“I didn’t politic or campaign for any specific positions or anything because I trust our executive committee to make the assignments they see fit,” Compton said. “But I’d like to think that at times when I offered insight into budgetary situations, they saw that maybe I could be a resource and could help in the communications between the board and the commission, and the budget is usually the biggest thing we communicate about.”

And one important aspect of that Compton has added to his monthly schedule is being present for the Commission’s budget committee meetings.

One of the more frequent frustrations expressed by committee members last year during the budget process was that no one from JMCSS was typically present during their meetings, so when they had a question about a budget amendment or a request in their annual budget, there was no one there to answer.

So Compton and his co-chair, Sherry Franks, have typically been in the budget committee meetings for the last few months to try to answer questions committee members may have or to track answers down.

“We haven’t always had the answers, but when we haven’t waited to get the answers we didn’t have,” Compton said. “If I’m not texting someone before the meeting is over with a question, I’m trying to connect with someone that will have answers.

“And if there’s a meeting at 10 and I don’t have an answer, there have been times I’m calling or texting [County Commission budget chair Carl Alexander] by 4 that afternoon with an answer.”

Compton’s readiness to work with the Commission is somewhat influenced by his experience as a Commissioner. For seven years, he served on the County Commission and was a budget chair or co-chair all of those years.

“So I know for the most part how they operate and what they want to know, and I have great relationships with most of them on the committee,” Compton said. “Carl [Alexander], Mike [Taylor] and Joey [Hale] – I still talk to them pretty regularly about things.

“And I have great relationships with the volunteer members of that committee too – Marcus Love and Greg Parsons. So communicating with them is simple, and I’m OK with being that go-between for the District because of those relationships.”

As the County moves into budget season, Compton has said in multiple meetings in the last couple of months he hopes the District can avoid the situation it was in a year ago in which it sent its first draft of its budget to the Commission’s budget committee in early June when it was due May 1.

“The District has already begun its internal budget meetings, and it’s my hope that budget requests can get to us and we can send a recommendation to the Board before our April 18 meeting so that we’re approving the first draft by April 18 and sent to the County by April 22,” Compton said. “Because if that’s the case, then they should have plenty of time to look things over and make any adjustments or have any questions.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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