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School Board Approves The Budget For FY17

Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer Report contributed by the Troup County School Board.

This past week the School Board of Troup County hosted their regularly scheduled meetings to vote on and determine several pieces of pressing business with all of their schools. The vote for E-SPLOST is officially over and passed so the board can shift their focus to other things that need to be taken care of in the system. After a call to order and the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting, the board was underway with their first item on the agenda. The first item at the meetings last week was to hear the results of a salary survey that the Board had conducted. The school system is the second largest employer in all of Troup County and there has not been a pay raise since 2008. After a study was conducted from October of last year to May of this year, there was a study conducted that stated we need to adjust the pay to stay competitive with other systems. They were recommending a three percent adjustment. The Board felt the time was finally right to make this move and wants to help their employees with the cost of living equality.

Next up was the extension of the TAD agreement with the LaGrange hotel downtown. The extension will move the date to the end of October this year. This will give the project more time to get put together in the manner that is needed. The Troup County Board of Commissioners recently voted to extend the TAD as well and this project should be up and off the ground very soon.

The Board also spent a minute or two on the consolidating election returns resolution. They essentially said that the Board receive the certificate of the Superintendent of Elections and adopt this resolution.

The next item on the agenda was a request for the Board to approve a purchase order in the amount of $60,677.96 to Renaissance Learning Inc. for the accelerated reader program used all throughout the elementary and middle schools here in our system. The subscription will run from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. This item was passed by the Board at their meeting.

Next, there was a request that the Board approve a purchase order in the amount of $94,307.50 to SchoolCity, Inc. for the assessment software subscription and license with the same exact time frame as the previous accelerated reader program. The request was approved.

Also last week, the Board voted to adopt the revised policy to include recommendations from the Georgia School Board Association per O.C.G.A, allowing person to present a properly executed kinship caregiver power of attorney to enroll students.

During the human resource matter under the agenda, several decisions were made, all that included either resignations/ terminations, recommendations for different positions, other certified recommendations, and parttime personnel recommendations. There were also some non-certified personnel decisions that were discussed. They also discussed the request to adopt the GARH policy which deals with benefits for their employees and the number of sick days that are associated with that.

Next the Board received the E-SPLOST 4 tax receipts for the month of April 2016, which was in the amount of $858,869.39. This brings the overall total so far for ESPLOST IV to a whopping $41.6 million total. The Board also took a look at the financial report and approved the May 2016 General Fund Financial Statement as it was presented.

The big ticket item at this week’s meeting was the formal adoption of the budget for the fiscal year 2017 in the amount of $103,518,255. There is expected revenue of $101,768,255 with a difference of about $1.75 million coming from the reserve funds. The reserve is expected to reach $23 million.

The totals are a little different from the tentative budget last month which called for $1 million to be used from reserve funding. The adopted budget also shows about $580,000 more in expected revenue than the tentative version, which comes from an increase in the amount of expected taxes collected based on the tax digest.

The system is not proposing an increase to its current 18.85 mills property tax levy, however, an increase in the property tax digest which is the overall value of taxable property in the county. This means the system will need to host hearings on the rate if it chooses not to rollback the millage to collect the same amount in tax dollars as last year. The budget does include a three percent raise for all employees.

The budget also allows the system to add new instructors and teaching resources for the next fiscal year. Much of the expected additional revenue will come from $2.8 million in the additional state-allocated funds, which includes $1.8 from reduced austerity cuts. It also includes a $1 million increase in equalization funding, which is based on local property values. Plans are to add teachers, especially in gifted classes, along with paraprofessionals in alternative classrooms and for reading instruction, Jones said during a presentation to the Board of Education in May.

Additions to custodial positions, “one or two” school administrative positions, and other resources are also expected. The majority of the school system’s funding comes from the state with about $58.6 million expected in the upcoming fiscal year. Local taxes account for about $42.7 million which slightly higher than last year.

There were several other items approved at last week’s meetings include the following: The adoption of the food service budget for fiscal year 2017 with $5,962,706 in expenses and $6,552,706 in revenue.

The Renewal of the Infinite Campus online student information system software annual agreement for $86,499.

Contract with BB& T Insurance Services for $84,042 to provide athletic medical insurance, supplemental to personal insurance, for the next school year and approve the following rates for athletic medical insurance: high school athletics, $49; high school band, $33; middle school athletics, $43; and middle school band, $28.

The Renewal of an annual agreement with Troup County Archives for $30,000 to be paid from general funds. The archives offer service that includes a dedicated space of about 3,000 linear feet of shelving allotted to records of former Troup County School System students and personnel.

A Contract with Permaflex for a guaranteed maximum of $255,290.64 to replace asphalt in the parking lots and driveways at Troup High School and $198,038.88 to repave parking lots and driveways at Gardner Newman Middle School. Both would be paid with special-purpose, local-option sales tax — SPLOST — funds.

Payments to Service master Recovery Management for the work performed to mitigate and make repairs to Troup High School, $35,721.49 and $50,353.88; Hollis Hand Elementary, $48,495; Unity Elementary, $32,559.20; and LaGrange High School, $73,815.44; due to damage from the storms in December 2015. Service master performed immediate and long term repairs to the damaged facilities. The board entered into an agreement with Service master Recovery in April 2012 for recovery services. Funding source: maintenance general fund.