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County awaits Bryant signature on funding

The Lincoln County School Board is awaiting the governor’s signature on an appropriations bill before moving forward to formalize budget decisions.

A special called meeting of the school board was scheduled for April 22 to approve 2013-14 personnel recommendations and 2013 budget revisions.

However, the meeting was cancelled because Gov. Phil Bryant has not yet signed the appropriations bill sent to his office on April 8.

Cheryl Shelby, financial director for the Lincoln County School Board, explained that the board is not required to, but out of fiscal caution will typically await approval from the governor’s office to see what kind of funds they have to work with before proceeding with measures such as personnel amendments or additions.

The contents of the appropriation bill are known but not law until the governor signs off on the budget. The governor does have veto power over the bill.

“He’s holding us hostage,” Shelby said jokingly in an interview Wednesday. “I don’t know how much longer he’s going to wait.”

Districts have 10 days after the bill is signed to non-renew teachers if financial circumstances require it, Shelby said.

She said that the district is expecting around $100,000 less from state funds this year but doesn’t expect that to dramatically affect the district.

“It wouldn’t constitute having to reduce teaching staff,” she said.

The bill is expected to be signed before the next regularly scheduled board meeting on May 6, thus resulting in another special called meeting before then.