The state requires that districts have at least a 2 percent contingency.
Hamilton said he hopes to get Mercer's contingency up to 5 percent in the future to ensure the district is able to handle any further cuts.
Contingency is also important because so many grants awarded to districts are reimbursement grants, which means districts must be prepared to provide money up front.
Hamilton said he didn't want the board to worry about further budget cuts, but he did want members to be aware that it might happen and he wants them to be informed. The cuts may result in a situation, he said, where he may need to ask the board to have the district fund textbooks from the contingency fund.
Textbooks were an area in flexible funds cut substantially this year. Mercer County only received $11,155 in textbook money, which Hamilton said isn't enough to get updated math textbooks for the entire district.
In other business, Finance Officer Joy Campbell is looking into getting an online payment service for parents to be able to pay for their children's food services. Campbell said the online payment would be another option for parents. They would be able to look at account balances and pay online, or continue to send their child to school with a check or cash for lunch.
Campbell will be meeting with different groups that provide this service and looking at other districts with it to see how successful it is.
The board also approved hiring the architect firm Sherman, Carter and Barnhart for construction projects and renovations at some of the schools as the district prepares to use all of its buildings.
The goal is for all renovations to be complete by August 2011.
Some of the projects include new roofs at Mercer County Elementary School and the Ninth Grade Center, and light and exterior work at the Ninth Grade Center.