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Schools' $194.7 million budget calls for 30 new teaching posts

January 31, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

More than 30 new teaching positions, nine new bus drivers and $6.5 million in negotiated raises are included in a $194.7 million draft budget the Washington County Board of Education will discuss today.

According to a document available on the board's Web site Monday afternoon, the fiscal year 2007 budget represents an increase of more than $18 million over the $176.3 million the school system budgeted for fiscal year 2006. It includes a request for an increase of about $2.6 million from the Washington County Commissioners, who this year appropriated $80.8 million to the schools.

The state's contribution would be $110.5 million, according to the draft budget.

The board will meet today at noon, at which time the budget could be approved.

Along with the raises, the budget includes spending increases of $2.5 million to handle growing enrollment, $2.1 million for maintenance needs, and $2.1 million to meet state and federal mandates, Board of Education President W. Edward Forrest said Monday. Other big increases include $1.7 million to pay for higher energy costs and $1.7 million for transportation costs, he said.

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"It's driven by those things - the growth, and the state and federal mandates, plus the desire of the community to build back some of those things that were cut in the past," Forrest said.

The adoption of the draft budget begins a process of public hearings and revisions that culminates with the board's presentation of a proposed budget to the County Commissioners.

According to its budget calendar, the board plans to conduct a public hearing on the document at 6 p.m. Monday. In March, it will adopt a proposed fiscal year 2007 budget to present to the Washington County Commissioners.

A draft budget that originally appeared on the agenda of last week's regular board meeting called for total spending of more than $192.3 million, including a request of about $5.2 million in new money from the County Commissioners. Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Tuesday after the meeting that the board decided to hold off on voting for a draft operating budget because members had just learned the state's appropriation to the school system was higher than anticipated.

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