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County schools want $2M budget increase

The Lincoln County School Board believes its new budget proposal will benefit both schools and taxpayers.

“We’re not asking for a 4 percent increase this year,” Financial Director Sam Stewart said at the board’s annual budget meeting Monday.

The school district will not be asking for an ad valorem tax increase this year. According to data presented by Stewart, the budget has increased by more than $2 million.

The number proposed for upcoming fiscal year is $26,591,158.76. The majority of the funds will come from the state, with other funds coming from federal and local sources, along with 16th section.

Sixteenth Section lands are land tracts owned by school districts — agricultural, forestry, farming, hunting, fishing, recreational, residential, industrial or mineral-rich lands — that can be leased out to the highest bidder. The timber sales from these lands help fund budgets for school districts.

Expenditures per location put Bogue Chitto and Enterprise each at 24 percent, West Lincoln at 25 percent and Loyd Star at 27 percent.

“We’re spending proportionately where the students are,” Stewart said.

These numbers reflect the expected enrollment at each county school for the upcoming year within 2 percent, according to Stewart.

Expenditures are simply expenses — which cover things like teacher salaries, supplies and equipment for each school, both instructional and non-instructional.

Sixty-seven percent of expenditures pay for teachers’ salaries. To cover the pay raise promised by the Department of Education, the district has figured how much to give teachers to compensate them for the raise MDE didn’t provide.

“We’ve calculated what we think the teacher pay raise should be,” Stewart said. “MDE says they’ll make it right, and I hope that’s true.”

The board is expected to adopt the budget June 27 at 6 p.m. The next scheduled board meeting will be July 15 at 5:30 p.m.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the purchase for three 71-passenger buses and one bus with a wheel chair lift for $263,665.

• Approved the purchase of two driver’s education cars for $36,390.

• Discussed allowing Southern Fury softball team to use school facilities. No vote was taken.

• Discussed the possibility of removing the bleachers at Loyd Star and leasing bleachers for the home side of the football field.

Story by Gracie Byrne