After months of having to enact spending resolutions to continue operation of the school system, the Jefferson school board was finally able to approve a $17.25 million budget Thursday.
The budget is down 2.2 percent from the $17.63 million Jefferson Schools spent last year. The 2010-2011 spending plan calls for $139,000 — or 2.3 percent — less in local taxes.
The school system had to operate without a budget since July due to uncertainty surrounding state funding. That meant the BOE had to approve a series of monthly spending resolutions in the interim until it received the financial numbers it needed from the state.
There were no changes in the spending plan voted on Thursday and the proposed budget presented to the Jefferson Board of Education Aug. 11.
City school leaders also voted Thursday to keep the millage rate at 13.283.
That rate will draw $15,000 less per mill this year than last year due to a decrease in the county tax digest.
The BOE also voted to keep the bond rate at 3.345.
Jefferson school leaders are using $780,000 from reserves to balance this year’s budget and avoid a tax increase.
In other financial news, the school system closed the 2009-2010 books with $1.9 million in reserves, a figure slightly higher than anticipated.
Jefferson Schools continue to average nearly $160,000 a month in SPLOST receipts — nearly $15,000 higher than the projected mark of $145,000.
The school board also learned that it has qualified for $1.1 million from the state for capital outlay projects. The system must apply by Oct. 1 to use that money. Those funds could be used in conjunction with the BOE’s application for $22.7 million worth of the state’s qualified school bond program to build — without paying interest — a new Jefferson High School classroom section, a fourth wing at Jefferson Elementary School and a new high school basketball gym.
TO SEEK CLASS SIZE WAIVERS
After discussing it last month, the Jefferson BOE approved a resolution to seek maximum class size waivers.
With education funding being hit during the bad economy, the state is allowing more flexibility to class size regulation laws so local systems can save money on personnel.
Jefferson will ask for a variance of one to five additional students for K-12 regular education, one to three for the English Language Learners’ program, one to seven for gifted, one to three for Early Intervention Program, one to three for remedial education, one to five for career-technology courses, one to three for alternative education and one to three for special education.
In other business conducted, the BOE:
•approved $5,531 for a parking area and driveway extension for the Martin Institute and $34,690 for asphalt overlay for the parking area at the Memorial Stadium field house.
•heard that the system’s retention pond project should be wrapping up soon. Piping had to be extended, costing an extra $2,000. The BOE also learned that the high school track renovation project is also nearing completion. Repairs were made to the high-jump area and long-jump boards. Once stripes are added to the track, the job will be finished.
•learned that a growing number of students riding buses has called for more routes. Of the 14 drivers system-wide, three drivers are running three additional routes in the morning while four drivers are running second routes in the afternoon. All morning and afternoon routes combined, the system is transporting 1,902 students.
•approved the hiring of Tammy Hall (crossing guard), William Frizzell (high school custodian) and Annsley Kate Adams (elementary school student worker). The BOE also accepted the resignations of Rebekah Cannafax (crossing guard) and Irene Clark (elementary school custodian) and granted family/medical leave for elementary school teacher Rhonda Blackburn. Three community coaches were OK’d as well: Howard McGlennen (high school basketball), Lee Goza (high school basketball) and Dawson Bryan (middle school tennis and wrestling). Other personnel items included approving Cannafax, Michelle Turner, Gera Fordham and Debra Gaillard as “SFS” substitute teachers. The BOE also approved a 138-person list of substitute teachers.