2018-05-17 / Front Page

Board approves tentative budget, increases rent on old high school

By KAY TOTO
staff writer

Cost-cutting measures may be on the horizon for Lincoln County schools in the next few years. Pre­sented at the May 8, 2018, regular meeting with the tentative budget for fiscal year 2018-2019, the Lincoln County Board of Education found that the coming year’s expenditures may be more than estimated revenue to be collected in the same time pe­riod. However, there already is an existing balance in the bank account, one that the board can use to make up the difference – if needed.

At this first public meeting held for discussion of the 2018-2019 tentative budget, Finance Director Kaye Bufford presented informa­tion about the proposed budget. She showed estimated revenues to be overall $14,514,411, with esti­mated expenditures of $16,082,323, necessitating drawing the differ­ence from the fund balance. The estimated fund balance as of July 1, 2018, is $2,958,145. If the tenta­tive budget is correct, the estimated balance as of June 30, 2019, would be $1,390,233.

“The main issue with the budget, as I said last month, is the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) increase. This difference from last year’s bud­get – an additional $268,486 – hurts, and really impacts our bottom line,” said Bufford.

However, she also went on to remark that she tends to be con­servative when figuring a tentative budget, so it may be better than it looks.

“We’re sitting at about 89 percent on our revenues, which is mostly due to the 98.95 percent of our ad valorem taxes being collected,” Bufford concluded. In addition, SPLOST collections for the month of April were $56,511, which shows a boost from last month. The month­ly budget amount is $50,000.

The tentative budget for 2018- 2019 was voted upon and approved. The next public hearing meeting will be held May 22, 2018, at 5 p.m. to finalize the budget.

Superintendent Samuel Light in­troduced the issue of a rent increase for the Community Partnerships, which had been discussed at a prior meeting. The Community Partner­ships is located in the old high school building and part of the old CTAE building. With help from the power company, special meters were placed to obtain an estimate of the actual amount of electricity used by them. The cost of electricity, which is included in the rent, was higher than expected, and the board ap­proved an increase from $2,000 to $3,000 per month beginning with the lease renewal in October.

In other matters, the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Hap­pen (REACH) scholarship program was approved by the board. The goal of this program is to provide greater college access for students through­out Georgia. Five REACH scholars are selected in middle school and they sign contracts along with their parents/guardians to maintain a 2.5 GPA; remain crime, drug, and behavior issue free; and meet with a volunteer mentor and academic coach until they graduate from high school. In turn, each is awarded a $10,000 scholarship.

To be awarded the scholarships, each student must continue to meet program requirements until high school graduation. If a student does not fulfill program standards, they risk losing the $10,000 scholarship. No public monies would be used for this project, as it is privately funded.

In his comments on school pol­icy, Chairman Jason LeRoy noted school policies must be reviewed on a regular basis, and modified or deleted if necessary. It is critical to keep policy manuals up to date, he maintained. Toward that end, 12 policies were reviewed, one policy was revised, one policy was con­verted to procedure, and one policy was deleted.

The board entered into Executive Session to discuss personnel. After returning from executive session, the following action was taken: l It was recommended by the su­perintendent and a motion was made by LeRoy to accept the resignation of Jeremy Gantt. The motion was unanimously approved. l A recommendation was made by the superintendent and a mo­tion was made by LeRoy to accept the resignation of Christian Tiller. The motion was unanimously ap­proved. l It was recommended by the superintendent and a motion was made by LeRoy to accept the resig­nation of Kelly Fletcher. The motion unanimously was approved. l It was recommended by the su­perintendent and a motion was made by LeRoy to accept the retirement of Shirley Glaze. The motion was unanimously approved. l It was recommended by the su­perintendent and a motion was made by LeRoy to hire Kristen James for a teacher position. The motion was unanimously approved. l A recommendation was made by the superintendent and a motion was made by LeRoy to transfer Keri Ball to the high school to fill the self-contained classroom posi­tion. The motion was unanimously approved. l It was recommended by the su­perintendent and a motion was made by Mr. LeRoy to hire Connie Burton as a substitute custodian. The mo­tion was unanimously approved. l It was recommended by the superintendent and a motion by Mr. LeRoy to hire Claude Turner as a substitute custodian. The motion was unanimously approved. l It was recommended by the su­perintendent and a motion was made by Mr. LeRoy to hire Pam Parton as a substitute food service worker and substitute custodian. The motion was unanimously approved.

A public meeting will be held May 22, 2018, at 5 p.m. to finalize the budget. The next regular meet­ing of the Lincoln County Board of Education will be held Tuesday, June 12, beginning at 7 p.m. at the board office.

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