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Toombs BOE Gives Tentative Budget Approval
Friday, 12 June 2009

June 15--  Just like with other school systems in the area, the Toombs County school system budget for next year would be in the red if it weren't for federal stimulus funds.

"We had an almost $4 million budget decline with all programs considered," reports Toombs School Superintendent Dr. Kendall Brantley.

The Toombs County school board approved a tentative budget at its June meeting which shows $2.5 million dollars in reduced spending compared to last year.  Dr. Brantley says the federal stimulus funds helped offset a 25 percent reduction in state funding and avoided job cuts.

"We were able to use the federal funds in such a way that we actually did not have to layoff anyone.  Everyone who wanted to work and who received a satisfactory evaluation returned for employment for next year," he said.

The school board approved Dr. Brantley's recommendation to freeze employees salaries for next school term.  He said that means there will be no salary or local supplement increases in the coming year.

At the same time, Dr. Brantley is hopeful the school board can keep the local property tax rate at its current level.  However, he won't know for sure until the county tax digest is available later this summer.  

"We built the budget assuming the current tax rate of 11.42 mils will bring in as much taxes as we have received in the past.  If there is a big decline in that, then we will have to reconsider the millage rate," he says.  

The Toombs County school board has the authority to raise the millage rate as high as 20 mils, but Dr. Brantley says the board's intent is to leave it as it is all things being equal.

The school board also approved the expenditure of $2,843 to remain a member of the Adequate School Funding Consortium, a group of low wealth counties trying to get a court decision ordering the state to fund all school systems on an equal basis.

Dr. Brantley warned the school board the new Toombs County ordinance on noise could be a problem for school athletic events.  Even though the new law was passed to control loud music from clubs, Dr. Brantley says an unintended consequence could impact school functions.

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