School board approves 2015 budget, announces more new hires
The Polk County Board of Education approved their budget in front of only a couple of witnesses ahead of the beginning of the 2015 fiscal year on July 1, along with a whole slate of new hires for the coming school year.
Following unanimous approval of the budget without any further discussion, Superintendent William Hunter said the budget allows school administrators to move forward with planning for the upcoming school year.
After all the revenue streams and expenditures are tallied, Polk County Schools will start out with a balance of $7,132,343 in the general fund for FY 2015, and after all revenue streams and expenditures are tallied will end up with $6,366,941 left on the balance sheet.
All total, the board is projected to spend a total of $53,566,833 when all the numbers are calculated together. More than 74 percent, or $39.8 million, is spent on educator’s salaries alone.
According to figures from the board of education, local revenues total more than $12.8 million, along with $39.9 million from state sources.
The board will also service $4,855,000 in debt during their coming budget year, which started Tuesday.
More than $2.8 million is expected to be spent on school administrator salaries, along with another $2.2 million on transportation costs. The only figure more than $1 million in this year’s budget are maintenance costs, which total up to more than $4.3 million, or just over 8 percent of the total expenditures for the year.
The board will also be receiving $2,849,919 in Title I grants, $1,665,675 in Federal special education grants, $1,116,165 from Pre-K state lottery funds, and $3,521,681 from the school nutrition plan.
Hunter thanked the board for passing the budget and allowing the system to move forward with other plans for the school year.
Those include new hires, who are slated to begin their school year at the beginning of August. Those include Corey Godfrey, named assistant principal as of August 1, along with 12 new teacher. Rockmart High football coach Bin Turner was also named athletic director of Rockmart High School, effective as of Tuesday.
New teacher hires included Daryl Pledger, Angie Corn, Ronda Willis, Allyson Firestone, Michael Kimsey, Andre Clark, Dina Bissonette, Stephen Eubanks, Raina Lewis, Sandy Heath, Melissa Turner and Sherrie Sealock. All except Lewis are replacing educators who have either resigned or retired.
Marti Couey of Cedartown Middle and Tamara Williams of Rockmart Middle resigned from the board, according to information from the school board. Custodian James Albert from Eastside Elementary also retired from Polk County Schools.
Half a dozen new bus drivers were also hired by the board for the coming school year.
The board also discussed upcoming construction in Polk County schools, including how building work will disrupt students at Cedartown High School. Hunter said the plan was to allow certain Career, Technical and Agricultural Education students in classrooms at Cedartown High to do more hands on work during the first semester of the school year, then focus on classroom work during the second half of the year.
“Essentially, we plan to start the school year the same way we ended the year,” he said.
Hunter said plans are moving forward for new building construction to start during the first half of 2015, pending the completion of plans by architects and approval of those plans by the state department of education and the fire marshal’s office.
He said the system will go ahead with completing work on making school entrances more secure. Hunter said he hoped the work will be completed before the start of the school year in August, but did not have a firm timetable on when the first school building improvements in the county will begin.
Polk County Schools is also moving forward with bond sales for the 2015 Education Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax. He said Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Michael Murphy in late June. He said bond sales for the SPLOST will move forward, allowing for the system to have capital available for when construction starts ahead of SPLOST collections beginning in January 2015.
Hunter also asked school board members to combine their community input and regular sessions into one meeting on July 15 in consideration of the July 4 holiday.
When asked ahead of the meeting about whether former Rockmart High School assistant principal James “Jay” Johnson will be allowed to get his job back following his acquittal on aggravated assault and aggressive driving charges in an alleged June 2013 incident.
Hunter said “at the time based on his situation, he resigned to take care of his personal business. Sine then, the system has just moved on.”