Calhoun City Schools Chief Financial Officer Dee Wrisley led the Board of Education in a discussion on the recommended budget for 2020 earlier this week, discussing salary raises, projects and expenses. Wrisley said the budget is primarily centered around salary raises and additional positions.

During the board’s work session on Monday, Wrisley proposed the budget and projected revenues increasing by $2.2 million, largely due to the $1.7 million increase in QBE — quality basic education — state revenue.

Another impactful increase was prompted by Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget, which allocated a $3,000 raise for each certified employee in the state’s public schools. This increase will impact the budget by $645,000 for Calhoun schools.

Paraprofessionals will receive a 6 percent raise, and classified employees will receive a 2 percent raise. In addition, the state required the district to increase their input into the Teachers Retirement System from 20.9 percent of each employee’s salary to 21.14 percent, which will increase the budget by $44,356.

Due to increased enrollment, new teaching and paraprofessional positions have been added to the district, adding $456,000 to the budget (including benefits for new employees). More specifically, Wrisley said, the district will be hiring a high school math teacher, high school science teacher and high school English teacher, as well as paraprofessionals at the preschool and a part-time receptionist position at the preschool.

Current employees who are receiving advanced degrees during the year will be receiving salary and benefits raises, as $133,000 is budgeted for paying employees continuing their education.

“In order to offset these increases, department heads were asked to be conservative in their zero-based budgeting process,” Superintendent Michele Taylor said. “The largest decrease is in expendable computer equipment. For (the next year), expendable computer equipment decreased by $249,000.”

Wrisley said some of the projects that the district might tackle in the next academic year might include painting some of the buildings, a digital radio system for staff members, new bleachers for the high school stadiums and additional signage at the high school.

The total budget for the 2019-2020 academic year would be $35,394,617, according to the current proposed budget, with project funds totaling to $950,000 and special revenue funds estimated to cost $8.1 million.

The budget will be reviewed at the June 10 City Council meeting (7 p.m. at the Depot) and up for approval at the June 17 board of education meeting, prior to the Council’s adoption that same night during their meeting.

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