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BOE approves one month budget

By Sherri Ellington The school system budget will not be ready for a seamless slide into the next fiscal year on July 1. Instead, the board of education must approve a one month spending plan to tide the schools over before approving the 2014-15 budget. ‘We always work hard for the present and future but we’ve got to keep in mind what the plan is ‘“ to squeeze by year to year,’ said superintendent Dr. Bill Truby at a May 20 work session. ‘There’s a light at the end of the tunnel when the ESPLOST is paid out.’ By the time the current ESPLOST ends most of the bonded indebtedness will be paid, Dr. Truby said. ‘The next ESPLOST could go for renovations. I think the government is going to change a few things’ and allow the penny on the dollar school tax to go for capital improvements. Financial director Kristen Albritton noted a spending plan for July must be approved at the next meeting. The school system follows the state fiscal year rather than the calendar year. ’We won’t even have preliminary digest numbers yet,’ said Albritton. It looks as if repairs to the football stadium turf could cost the school system money. The manufacturer and installer are on the verge of litigation due to chemical issues with the product. ’We can replace the field as it is at no cost to Lamar County and with no added warranty. We still have three years,’ said Dr. Truby. ‘With turf chemical problems being worked out we can get the new version and an eight year warranty for $125,000. With the better stuff it should last 12 years.’ Paperwork will be gathered as litigation proceeds, he added. Truby suggested getting the new field and make changes to the logos on it at the same time. The ‘LC’ on the field violates GHSA soccer regulations. If the board approves the change to newer turf the money would come from bond issues and not the budget, he said. However, the heating and air system at the high school needs replacing, also at a cost of $125,000. Either would wipe out the bond account. ’Unforeseen things are what I wanted that bond money for,’ said Truby. ‘There’s money to take a look at.’ Albritton said the Quality Zone Academy Bond account has $255,000 and chairman Susan Byars noted several certificates of deposit funded by athletic income. Also discussed was a new way to recoup funds spent on the Fine Arts Center. The original plan was to sell plaques to be put on individual seats but research showed such plaques are often stolen, said Truby. ’That’s not workable so we found something that would look nice and match the FAC decor,’ he said. The idea is to have a decorative tree in the lobby with leaves of different metals that correspond to the amount of sponsorship. Sales of leaves ‘“ one per seat ‘“ would raise funds. At $150 each and 855 seats it would garner $127,000 at full capacity. The annual golf tournament will now help fund the College and Career Academy.

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