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County schools set to OK $22M budget with no tax hike

No objections were heard Monday as the Lincoln County SchoolBoard reviewed the district’s proposed $22 million budget for the2005-06 fiscal year.

Despite an 8 percent teacher pay raise and some plannedimprovement projects at the four county schools, the district wasable to budget its money without increasing the millage requestfrom the county. Therefore, school officials anticipate no propertytax increase to meet budget needs.

“I feel good about it. It’s good for the people in the countythat we don’t have to raise taxes,” said board president JoannHolmes.

Holmes also mentioned the district receiving almost $1 millionmore in funding from the state for the 2005-06 school year washelpful in the budget.

Most of the additional money will be used to cover thestate-mandated teacher pay raise, said Cheryl Shelby, districtbusiness manager. The district will receive approximately $12million in state funding.

Salaries and fringe benefits make up 80 percent of thedistrict’s budgeted expenditures, while property expenditures andservices related to property account for about 5 percent each.

“All campuses are in need of some parking and paving as well assome sewer work,” said Shelby.

The district also has budgeted to purchase four new schoolbuses, totaling approximately $198,000. Other money set aside is$210,000 for the textbook fund and $150,000 in savings forlong-term construction projects.

“We don’t want to get into another situation where we absolutelyhave to issue bonds,” said Shelby about the construction fund.

The district is still paying back, at $87,000 per year for 14years, a loan taken out in 1999. Board members could not rememberwhat the money was used for exactly, but believe it was forconstruction taking place at the schools during that timeperiod.

Shelby pointed out that the district will, however, pay off onenote this year in the 2002 shortfall loan.

Board members were pleased with the proposed budget. They wereespecially glad to be able to continue offering all the sameprograms without having to raise taxes.

“We’ve been pretty wise with our money,” said board memberJohnny Hart.

No other matters concerning the budget were discussed as boardmembers plan to finalize the budget at their recessed meeting onJune 28 at 5 p.m.