***Budget Includes Raises For All Employees***
The Oconee County Board of Education last week approved unanimously an $82.3 million Fiscal Year 2020 budget that includes a decrease in the millage rate from 17 to 16.5.
More than half of the revenue in the budget--55.0 percent--comes from the state, with local sources, primarily property taxes, contributing the remaining 45.0 percent.
The budget includes salary raises for teachers and staff and anticipates spending an average of $9,976 for each of the projected 8,253 students in the system.
The Board also approved at the regular meeting last week a bid of $319,058 with Centegix of Atlanta for a crisis alert system, to be funded through a state security grant.
It also approved a bid of $101,040 with Virtucom for purchase of 120 desktop computers. The funding will come from Education Local Option Sales Tax revenues.
Saranna Charping, chief financial officer for the school system, had reviewed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the Board at its work session on June 3 as well as at its session on May 6
|Charping And Board Member Tim Burgess 6/3/2019|
She told the Board at the June 3 work session that the budget maintains the step increases for eligible staff, provides for 34 new growth positions, and offers salary increases for all employees.
The budget shows $1.4 million more in expenditures ($82.3 million) than revenue ($80.9 million).
The gap is to be made up by drawing on the Fund Balance (or savings), which is projected to stand at $15.7 million at the end of the 2020 Fiscal Year.
The proposed millage rate of 16.5 compares with the current millage rate of 17.0, where it has stood for the last four years.
The drop in the millage rate from 17.0 to 16.5 means that the owner of a $300,000 home with the homestead exemption in the unincorporated parts of the county will pay $59 less in property tax next year than this year.
The budget includes $225,000 in local spending for security upgrades and $300,000 from a state grant for that purpose.
At the June 3 meeting, Claire Buck, chief academic officer for the school system, said that the low among three bidders for the crisis alert project was Centegix of Atlanta with a bid of $319,058.
Buck said the system will allow all staff to have a device whereby they “can notify if there is a security or medical issue that is taking place any place within the school or outside the school.”
The device will provide notification of where the reporting individual is on the school property, Buck said.
The state funds are part of a initiative from Gov. Brian Kemp to provide security funds to local schools.
Work on the project is to be completed this summer.
At the June 3 meeting, Buck said that the school system had selected the HP SB ProDesk 600 G4 SFF to replace desktop computers for teachers.
The purchase will allow the system to continue with its ongoing replacement of outdated equipment.
Virtucom Inc. in Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County submitted a bit of $101,040 for 120 of the computers.
Virtucom was the low among three bidders and included onsite setup, bios security password, a five-year warranty, and the Oconee image.
At the June 10 meeting, the Board recognized teachers at Oconee County High School and at North Oconee High School for business and computer science certification, and teachers at North Oconee High School for Early Childhood Education and Graphic Design certification.
The Board also recognized the Georgia Science Olympiad–Myster Architecture awardees at Rocky Branch Elementary School.
At its work session on June 3, the Board recognized the 2019 Georgia Music Educators Association All State Band awardees and All State Chorus, both at Oconee County High School.
It also recognized the 2019 Georgia Literary Extemporaneous Speaking awardee, the 2019 Solo Awardee, and the 2019 Literary Quartet Awardee, all at Oconee County High School.
The Board recognized the TOME Student Literacy Society Club TOME Online Competition awardees and the TOME Student Literacy Society Club Reading Bowl Competition winners, all at Oconee County Elementary School.
The videos for both the June 10 regular meeting and the June 3 work session are below.
Sarah Bell recorded the June 3 meeting, and Penny Mills recorded the June 10 meeting. I was not able to attend either meeting.
I have created separate videos of the recognitions sections of each meeting and included them after the regular meeting and also at the top of the right-hand column on this blog.
Three-fourths of property taxes charged by Oconee County go to the Board of Education. 70% of the State of Georgia expenditures go to education; 55% of Oconee BOE monies come from the State.
Thus it is plain Oconee BOE is awash with money, especially when taking into account the rather hefty "fund balance."
County has dragged its feet providing recompense to teachers for the years of salary freezes and furlough days.
At least the County BOE has finally made it possible to find a budget on its website, has grudgingly shaken loose some of its "fund balance," and remains tops in quality surveys. Compliments.
Now to either use fifteen-year-old E-SPLOST funds or return it to the tax payers as state law requires.
Why does John Daniels have us budgeted to be dipping into savings? We need to be growing savings, not depleting them. Projects frequently go over budget and this leaves us negative buffer for that.
In reference to John at 9:18 am:
I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but Mr. Becker's article discusses the Board of EDUCATION budget and references using Fund Balance (savings) to "fill the gap".
John Daniel is the Chairman of The Board of COMMISSIONERS.....a totally different and separate organization.
Statically, Oconee County average salary is $1,000 off at $57,000 of being in the top ten highest paying counties in the state. Buford City schools are ranked #1 at $64,000 with Cobb County ranking #10 at $58,000. If possible, a 5 to 7 thousand dollar improvement in salaries should be considered going forward.
The school board has to plan for increase enrollment, future schools, programs, equipment and upkeep of aging school properties. BOE appears to have had sound future planning. Agree with comment that detailed expenses and not just budgets need to be available for public. This goes for the shady BOC of late.
County BOC governing lead by Daniell have missed out of solid planning for secure county financial future. Incumbent doesn’t necessarily mean competent. Taxpayers will always have to “pay” for politicians mistakes.
I would like to know more about this 319K security system. All of the classrooms already have landline phones. Why add another device? Seems like a waste.
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