School board ap­proves 2015 budget, an­nounces more new hires

The Standard Journal - - Front Page - By KEVIN MYRICK Edi­tor

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.”

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