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Schools budget plans technology, bus purchases
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
May 22, 2013 11:01 AM | 1364 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County School Board last week was given a preliminary 2014 budget of $206 million that foresees higher revenues than the current year and proposes purchases of new electronic textbooks and buses.

Chief Financial Officer Steve Barnette gave board members their first look at the budget proposal, which is a 3 percent increase from the current budget.

“They see it for what it is,” he said.

Barnette focused on four areas he called budget priorities, which include working within its means, or “sustainability,” as well as increased resources, technology and transportation.

The past two years the district has had to use money from its reserves to balance its budget. A focus on sustainability will keep the board from needing to touch its $23 million reserves fund, Barnette said.

“Revenue is going to be up,” he said.

The Full-time Equivalent number, which provides funding based on the number of students in the system, is up this year. Quality Basic Education funding, based on teachers’ experience, has increased by about $2.4 million.

The Equalization Grant — state funding which helps make up the money lost during the down economy — should bring in about $35 million to Paulding because of property tax losses, he said. That amount likely will decrease in coming years, Barnette added.

District 4 Board Member Richard Manous said, “He [Barnette] is preparing us for where the money is coming from, and not coming from, in the big picture.”

In the budget Barnette proposed funding an additional $275,000 in school supplies, and an increase in the number of textbooks, including eBooks. He said schools need newer versions of books.

The budget proposes increasing technology funding by 50 percent to increase each school’s wireless capability.

“Not sure how it is going to look yet,” Barnette said.

He added this could open the door for a grant administrator and grant accountant position to seek state and federal grants as the need for more technology arises.

Barnette’s budget proposes purchase of eight new buses to replace the current, aging fleet.

“We are seeing an increase in maintenance,” Barnette said.

The board is set to adopt a tentative budget May 28 for publication of the required legal notice.

The board then plans to discuss the budget proposal June 11 before approving the final budget totals June 25.
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