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School board OKs budget

$178.8 million spending plan would require 0.5-mill property tax hike to fund

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The Columbia County school board gave final approval Tuesday to a $178.8 million budget for next school year that will require a tax increase to fund.

School officials have said that a half-mill tax increase on county property owners helps overcome a $7.6 million revenue deficit and avoids employee furloughs.

The tax increase should generate about $1.9 million in new revenue for the school system. It would take three employee furlough days to save an equal amount, according to school system figures.

The system initially was about $16 million short to meet the budget demands because of cuts in state funding, but made up about half that deficit using building and stimulus funds held in reserve.

To make up the remainder of the deficit, officials intend to delay the purchase of textbooks, cut instructional spending allocated for each school, eliminate a $950,000 contingency fund for payroll previously in place and dip into the system's $26 million reserve.

Public hearings to increase the millage will be at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. July 12 and 8 a.m. July 19, when the board will vote on the tax increase. A half-mill rise will cost a resident with a $100,000 home $24 more each year in property taxes.

The Columbia County Commission might halve that tax burden, however. It is considering cutting the millage used to repay bond debt by a quarter-mill. It then might use excess money in the county's reserves to pay down bonds.

CRCT Retakes

Also at the Columbia County school board meeting, officials said they recorded 256 passing grades from a May retest of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

Though the figure represents 49 fewer passing grades than in 2010, there also were 71 fewer tests administered this year.

In Richmond County, which also released retake results Tuesday, there were 786 passing grades from summer CRCT retakes. That represents 29 fewer passing grades than in 2010, but there were 304 fewer tests administered this year.

The CRCT is a benchmark exam used as a factor to determine schools' "adequate yearly progress" as set by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Pupils in third, fifth and eighth grades must pass reading to move on to the next grade. Fifth- and eighth-graders also must pass math.

The exam initially was administered in April, but state law allows pupils who fail on the first try to retake the test following additional instruction.

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Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/14/11 - 09:36 pm
0
0
Stop Spending so Much Darn

Stop Spending so Much Darn Money!!!!!!!!

cusinga
0
Points
cusinga 06/14/11 - 11:48 pm
0
0
Asking for more money from

Asking for more money from taxpayers is OK if you use it to improve education by not cutting teacher positions and their hours instead of using it on athletics!

Riverman1
113615
Points
Riverman1 06/15/11 - 07:35 am
0
0
"To make up the remainder of

"To make up the remainder of the deficit, officials intend to delay the purchase of textbooks..."

Did the Columbia County News Times know that is what had been decided before the BOE meeting where it was decided? Their editorial before the BOE meeting didn't bring it up nor did the comments by the editor in the days before the meeting.

The textbooks still have to be bought, but will furloughs or flat out salary cuts be made? Or will taxes simply be raised again?

Why is the Columbia County supplement designed to keep good teachers in the county paid to administrators who don't teach?

woodymeister
736
Points
woodymeister 06/15/11 - 07:54 am
0
0
Riverman1, to what supplement

Riverman1, to what supplement designed to keep good teachers are you referring? What administrators are receiving the supplement? How much are they receiving? Where can I find this information? I am a taxpayer in CC and want to know more about the issues you have raised. Can you direct me to the source of the information?

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 06/15/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
Will the "increase madness"

Will the "increase madness" ever end? I sure wish that every time I was short on a bill, I could just tell everybody in this town they were gonna have to pay for it, and theres nothing they can do about it.

And what exactly is it that is making our budget keep coming up millions and millions short every year?

And the years that money was actually put into he reserves, instead of taking from it, what were we doing then that were not doing now?
That "extra" money had to come from somewhere. Where?

More and more people are moving into Columbia County, which should mean more taxes are paid. Why are they continuously short? Who is balancing the books? What is being purchased that is putting us over budget?
Seriously, $7,600,000 is a ton of cash. How can you come up that short with people already paying taxes? Next year they'll say were $10,000,000 short and raise taxes again, and again, and again.
When will the madness ever end? Kinda makes me sad )-:

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 06/15/11 - 01:06 pm
0
0
Woody I have wondered the

Woody I have wondered the same thing. Where on earth did all the reserve money come from and how is it with the continued growth in CC that they seem to be coming up short??? There are new houses going up left and right with people moving into the county daily. So where is all this money going?? It certainly isn't into the schools. Supply money got cut last year and again this year. Teachers were told that instructional money was also cut. So there is less money going into instruction which means if your a teacher and you want something (instructional resource books, project supplies - glue, cardstock, ink, and etc) you have to come out of pocket. Education should be about the children and providing them with the best resources yet now we are being told that textbooks are being put on hold for yet another year. The current text books in social studies are outdated and do not align to the GPS. I am still in shock that the county is going in halves for a new stadium rather than providing extra money for materials and textbooks.

Riverman1
113615
Points
Riverman1 06/15/11 - 01:53 pm
0
0
Woodymeister, I have an idea

Woodymeister, I have an idea of the amount, but I don't want to say something that's not accurate. Maybe someone else knows or can look up the exact amount. I do know most of the administrators get it, although it was designed to keep teacher salaries competitive for Columbia County. It's the highest in the area and has been there for many years.

Possibly at one time there was a reason for the supplement, but with stacks of applications at the BOE for jobs in Columbia County, the area's premier system, I don't believe it's needed to attract educators. As far as the administrators, they have no business getting any of it. Someone else gave the analogy of the highly skilled craftsman making more than his supervisor which often happens.

I did a quick search for comments of BOE members about the supplement and most of them referred to deserving teachers getting it. No one mentions the administrators. Heck, they may not even realize nonteachers get the thing. Nagle keeps that very quiet. I wonder if he gets it too? Before anything else is cut, county supplements for non-teachers should be stopped.

woodymeister
736
Points
woodymeister 06/16/11 - 09:43 am
0
0
How is the weather in

How is the weather in Savannah today?

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