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Brister: No tax hike planned

The Lincoln County School District board of trustees scheduled aJune 20 public hearing on the district’s budget for the upcomingyear, a spending plan that is not expected to include a taxincrease.

“As of right now, we’re not raising any taxes,” SuperintendentTerry Brister said during Monday’s board meeting. “We can breatheeasier and show people we’re trying to stretch every dollar. Ithink people will be appreciative of that.”

The public hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. June 20, one hourbefore the board’s regular meeting.

Brister said the district has prepared three scenarios based oneducation funding expectations during the regular legislativesession and the recent special session in which a new year statebudget was approved. The superintendent said the budget scenarioswere bad, fair and best.

“I suppose we got the best of the three,” Brister said.

District officials said they have not seen definite numbers onfunding expectations for next year. However, business managerCheryl Shelby said indications were the district would be gettingabout $300,000 more than was recommended under Gov. Haley Barbour’sproposal.

State lawmakers approved a budget that will provide 7 percentmore in funding for K-12 education. The plan will cover an 8percent pay raise but again does not fully fund the MississippiAdequate Education Program.

Brister took exception with statements simply saying thateducation is getting more money. He said districts face increasingcosts from year to year, which take more of the budget.

“If you can say any good came out of it, we didn’t get hit likewe could have,” Brister said of the education funding picture.

With a clearer picture of state funding, trustees approved thehiring of certified and noncertified personnel for next year. Someadditional approvals are expected at next month’s meeting.

Brister also announced that soil borings for a new building atWest Lincoln Attendance Center had started. A new structure willreplace a building that burned in September.

“We’re officially started,” Brister said about the project.