School budget is $32.1M

Published 12:51 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

County’s budget up, includes construction funds

The Covington County Board of Education approved a $32.1 million dollar budget for the 2019 fiscal year, Tuesday night.

The budget includes:

  • $20.2 million in state funds (63 percent,) a $300,000 increase from last year.
  • $3.2 million in federal funds (10 percent,) a $120,000 increase from last year.
  • $8.5 million in local funds (26 percent,) a $1.6 million increase from last year.
  • $191,150 in other allocations (1 percent,) a $3,417 increase from last year.

Ressie Gray, the chief financial officer for the county schools, said that the increase was mainly from the schools having more local money.

“The schools received a lot of local grants and also an increase in local sales tax in 2018 helped with the increase,” Gray said. “We also received more money from adding a pre-k program at Fleeta.”

State funding for teachers is based on the average daily attendance, or enrollment. Covington County Schools’ enrollment was down 100 students in the 2017-2018 school year, which affected funding for the 2018-19 year, but Driver said the enrollment numbers are up for the 2018-2019 school year, which began last month.

Funding for the budget adopted last night was calculated on an enrollment of 2,958.10.

“Our enrollment is up from last year, which is always good,” Superintendent Shannon Driver said. “Today starts the 20 days that the state calculates the projected enrollment for next year, so hopefully we will see another increase, but it fluctuates.”

The budget also includes a big increase in capital outlay from last year’s $600,000 to this year’s $4.1 million, mostly due to the new track facility being built this fall.

“That is mostly going to from the new track facility being built,” Driver said. “We have a couple of other projects that will factor into that, but the majority is the track facility. We are moving along and making great progress on the facility, despite the weather, but we are looking forward to having that finished.”

The $3.4 million facility, which will be located off Hwy. 55, will include bleachers on one side of the soccer sixed field to accommodate 500 people. An eight-lane track will circle the field with adjacent spaces for high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump events. The facility also will include a 5,000-meter cross-country course. The targeted completion date for the facility is the end of February.

The system has 399 employees, two fewer than last year, 85.2 percent of whom are funded with state monies; 13.2 percent of whom are funded by federal dollars; and 1.4 percent of whom are funded with local tax dollars.

The budgeted expenditures also include $437,637 in debt service, a decrease from last year’s $544,421.

The board also:

  • Accepted a propane bid from Thompson Gas, LLC of Opp.
  • Accepted the resignation of Jerry Merrill, a bus mechanic.
  • Approved the employment of Johnathan Lucas Thomas as mechanic assistant.
  • Approved the employment of Michael Eugene Strickland as mechanic 1.
  • Accepted the resignation of Linda S. King, as custodian at Pleasant Home Schools.
  • Approved the employment of Sharon B. Grimes as nurse at Pleasant Home Schools.
  • Accepted the resignation of Melissa Anne Jones as focus teacher at Straughn Elementary School.