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Washington Co. school board adopts $241.75 million budget

$5.94 million in increased employee salary and benefit costs included

June 21, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt a final balanced $241.75 million general fund budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The budget includes $5.94 million in increased employee salary and benefit costs, the elimination of some unfilled positions and accounts for a dip in attendance at the Barr Academy.

In separate votes Tuesday, the school board approved new agreements with its three employee bargaining units that will result in members of those groups getting raises.

Eliminated were 1 1/2 unfilled human resources clerical positions and an executive director of facilities position that was vacant for at least a year, Chief Financial Officer Chris South said. The savings from those cuts were $68,045 and $120,925 respectively, according to budget documents.

The budget for the Barr Academy was cut by $100,000 because fewer students are attending than anticipated, Curriculum and Instruction Director Clyde Harrell said Monday. The academy has plumbing and HVAC programs. The school system will pay more on a per-pupil basis for students to attend the academy, he said.

Also cut was $20,000 from the criminal investigations budget because school board members decided earlier this year that the school system didn't need to do background checks on every volunteer in schools, South said. Volunteers who are only coming in to read to students, in front of instructors, will not need to be fingerprinted for background checks, he said. Those who spend one-on-one time with students or go on trips to the Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School at Fairview will need to be fingerprinted, he said.

The school system also had to cover the costs of two more programs the county commissioners decided they will not pay for outside of maintenance of effort, which is the minimum amount of funding the county must provide to the school system.

The county cut funding for crossing guards and the manager of the Judy Center, a program that partners with other agencies to provide educational programs for children and adults of low-income families in the Bester and Winter Street school districts.

State funding for the school system, which as of March was expected to increase $9.61 million, actually went up by almost $11.5 million, according to budget documents.

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