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Officials OK $19.3M new school year budget

Lawrence County school officials have requested $13,000 more inlocal funding for the 2006-2007 year, but they do not expect anincrease in property taxes.

“We expect to be funded by new property,” said Kevin Garrett,Lawrence County School District business manager. “If the newproperty does not cover that, we’ll make up the difference in othersources. We do not want to see the millage raised.”

A final budget of nearly $19.3 million was passed by the boardof trustees Friday.

An increase in state funding of $508,379 covered mandated hikesin salaries and benefits, Garrett said.

“There was a significant increase at the state level this yearas it tried to come closer to full funding of the (MississippiAdequate Education Program),” he said.

In addition to state funding increases, the district was aidedfinancially with the completion of a $900,000 loan taken in 1996 tobuild the high school’s Multi-Purpose Building. A quarter-milldesignated for the loan will fund the final installments with theremainder of the money transferred to the operational budget. Nextyear’s budget will not include the tax, Garrett said.

The 2006-2007 budget includes the construction of a sciencebuilding on the high school campus in a parking lot in front of theold gym, said Superintendent Russell Caudill. The building willhouse four classrooms and two science labs, one for biology and onefor chemistry and physics.

Construction on the 9,500-square-foot building is expected tobegin by the end of this month, Caudill said. The construction willcause some inconvenience to students initially, he said, byconstricting parking.

“We’ve made arrangements to take care of all that, but it may bea bit cramped until the building gets completed. It will be fineafter that,” Caudill said.

Construction work will not impact student learning, thesuperintendent said.