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Schools budget OK'd in Jefferson County

April 06, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A preliminary budget approved Wednesday night for Jefferson County Schools reflects a more than $6 million increase over last year's budget and is due to factors such as increasing student population and rising costs like fuel, said Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols.

The Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously approved the 2006-07 preliminary budget, which totals about $61.4 million.

Last year's budget was $55.1 million.

The school system is mandated to open new classrooms if student populations rise at a certain rate, Nichols said.

For example, if a kindergarten class goes one student more than 25, a new class must be started, Nichols said.

The school system also is over in the number of positions which are funded by the state, which has been a controversial issue at times in the county and has come up in the current 12-way race for four open seats on the Jefferson County Board of Education.

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Although Nichols could not say after Wednesday's meeting how many positions the school system will be over what is funded by the state in the preliminary budget, the positions are necessary to continue providing a good education in county schools, Nichols said.

The positions are used to offer music and art classes and give teachers time for planning, Nichols said.

The state funding formula only provides for a basic education in areas such as reading and math, Nichols said.

"I don't think a basic education is what our people want. Yes it costs more, yes it's painful. But we want to give our kids a quality education," Nichols told board members.

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