Originally created 05/12/00

Schools expect $10 million cost rise



It could take $10 million dollars more than it did last year to run Richmond County's school system.

That's the projection so far.

School board members were warned Thursday that the price tag could change when officials find out the total effects of the governor's Education Reform Bill - which requires significant changes in state school systems.

School Board members were presented Thursday with a tentative budget for the 2000-2001 school year. The current budget ends June 30.

Richmond County Superintendent Charles Larke said he authorized Controller Gene Spires to present the budget, though changes are likely to occur because of the new education law - which includes lowering class sizes by hiring additional teachers.

Mr. Spires agreed that changes will likely occur.

"We approached the budget on the same basis as other years, but there are a lot of unanswered questions, and it is subject to change according to House Bill 1187," Mr. Spires told board members.

Dr. Larke said, however, that he is pleased with the balanced budget and added that it requires no tax increase for residents.

The $194 million budget is $10 million more than last year's budget and, like last year's budget, is composed mostly of expenditures for personnel.

Of the $194 million, 89 percent is budgeted for school employees' salaries and benefits, a $7 million increase over last year.

Mr. Spires gave board members a list of dates for the rest of this month through June to discuss the budget. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Board member John Seitz requested postponing that meeting to allow members time to read the thick binder of line-items, but he was voted down by the majority of board members, who said they would like to start discussing the proposal right away.

In other business, the board approved a list of personnel changes, consisting mostly of principal changes, for the next school term.

They include:

James Thompson, principal of Roy Rollins Elementary, as principal of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.

William Bass, language arts coordinator for the school system, will be principal of Roy Rollins Elementary.

Winnette Bradley, principal of the Alternative school, will be principal of the county's evening school.

Jessie W. Chambers, principal of Dorothy Hains Elementary, will be principal at the Alternative school.

Geoclyn Williams, assistant principal of Lucy Laney High School, will be principal of Hains Elementary.

Joel Smith, assistant principal of Butler High School, will be principal of Blythe Elementary.

Betty Shepherd, assistant principal of Tobacco Road Elementary, will be principal of Willis Foreman Elementary.

Marie Cooper-Draves, principal of Gracewood Elementary, will be principal of National Hills Elementary.

Mary B. Braswell, lead teacher at Lake Forest Hills Elementary and Warren Road Elementary, will be principal of Gracewood Elementary.

Reach Faith Johnson at (706) 823-3765.