School board OKs tentative budget for ‘15
by Celia Shortt
The Coweta County Board of Education approved the tentative budget for the 2015 fiscal year of just over $243 million.
This budget is about $11 million higher than the 2014 fiscal year’s of almost $232 million.
Assistant Superintendent Keith Chapman presented the tentative budget at Tuesday’s monthly school board meeting.
We are starting “much better than we anticipated starting,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be even better.”
The $243,043,177 budget, includes a general fund budget of $172,975,820 and approval of the salary schedules used to compile the budget.
The general fund budget includes all operating costs for the school system, including employees’ salaries, administration, transportation, food services, and others costs necessary to operating the schools.
The other portion of the budget is for the special revenue fund and capital projects fund. For the 2015 fiscal year, the school system is budgeting $22,731,6539 in the special revenue fund and $47,335,818 in capital projects.
For the 2014 fiscal year, the general fund budget was $168,026,00, with $22,518,197 going to the special revenue fund and $41,425,045 in capital projects.
Chapman said of the general fund budget, $4.1 million will be taken from reserves, and the budget also reflects a modest estimate of a 3 percent increase in the tax digest. He said the growth in the county’s tax digest may actually be higher.
In April and May, the school board approved CCSS Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker’s recommendations of a step increase for classified employees and removing all calendar reduction days for teachers and other employees who work more than 180 days.
Those changes are reflected in this budget.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board approved options for make-up days should inclement weather cause the schools to be closed again.
The state allows school systems to miss up to four days of school due to an emergency without having to make them up. When schools miss more than four days because of an emergency, the local school board must examine its make-up options.
“Nothing has changed regarding holidays and teacher work days,” said Barker at Tuesday’s meeting in regards to the make-up options.
Rather the last two days of winter break, Feb. 19 and 20, are now inclement weather days but will only be used as such if needed. Winter break for the 2014-2015 school year is from Feb. 16 through 20.
Those days will only be used “if we have missed more than the four days granted by the state,” he said.
If the school system does not miss any days due to inclement weather or does not exceed the four given by the state, the days will still be part of winter break. They are only inclement weather days if needed.
“I hope we don’t have to use them,” said Barker. “I wanted to be a little bit ahead this year.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board:
• Approved a purchase of four new maintenance vehicles – a half-ton van from SouthTowne Motors in the amount of $21,222.50, a half-ton 4WD truck from Mike Fitzpatrick Ford in the amount of $26,387.40, a half-ton 2WD truck from Mike Fitzpatrick Ford in the amount of $23,467.40, and a one-ton 2WD utility truck from Mike Fitzpatrick Ford in the amount of $28,963.60.
• Approved bids for the school nutrition program – Flowers Bakery with a low bid of $170,930.55 for bread items, US Foods with a low bid of $2,056,028.96 for food items, Mayfield Milk with a low bid of $528,610.75 for dairy items, and Southeastern Paper Group with a low bid of $639,446.18 for paper and chemical items.
• Approved American Paper & Twine Company’s bid for paper towels and toilet paper in the amount of $1.87 per roll of paper towel and $0.25 per roll of toilet paper for the 2015 fiscal year.
• Approved Southeastern Paper Group’s bid of $141,405.09 for the required custodial supply items.
• Approved custodial and light maintenance service for Madras Middle School and East Coweta Middle School in the amount of $273,420. By outsourcing, Barker said there is an estimated savings of $40,000 per school.
• Approved renewing Georgia School Board Association membership dues for the 2015 fiscal year in the amount of $15,025.
• Approved GSBA eBoard module subscriptions and maintenance subscriptions. The total cost for both is $12,400.
• Approved the local board’s governance training report for the 2014 fiscal year.
• Heard Barker’s quarterly update on the inmate work crew. It is in full compliance.