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Hall County Schools Board gives initial approval to 2012 budget, school calendar
Expenditures estimated near $200 million
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The Hall County Schools Board adopted its preliminary fiscal year 2012 budget and 2011-2012 school calendar at a called meeting Monday night.

“There’s still systems around this state in crisis, in deficit spending and their millage rates are tapped out,” School Board

Chairman Nathan Morris said. “I want to applaud what we’ve done in anticipation of these days.”

In a budget overview letter, Superintendent Will Schofield wrote it was the board’s intention to propose a fiscal 2012 budget with no tax increase.

The board intends to use the roll-up rate, which is not yet calculated.

Schofield said the fiscal 2012 budget is going to be roughly the same as the fiscal 2011 budget, despite almost $20 million in additional funding cuts. The 2012 budget has estimated expenditures of $196,777,377.

“We have a strong starting balance for next year, but obviously that’s unsustainable if the economy doesn’t pick up,” Schofield said.

Lee Lovett, Hall County deputy superintendent, said local revenue sources are down more than $109,000, but state revenue is up “just a tad.” Federal funds remain the same.

“If you look at the expenditures, you will see that many of them are down,” Lovett said.

Decreased expenditures are found in the areas of pupil services, administration, business services and plant maintenance.

Expenditure increases include rising diesel fuel costs to run school buses.

The most significant increase was improvement of instruction, which is up $344,820 from fiscal 2011 because of salaries formerly covered by federal stimulus funds. These salaries had to be reabsorbed into the general budget for fiscal 2012.

Personnel costs account for more than 80 percent of expenditures, Lovett said.

“We continue to pay our teachers well. They are paid the most competitive salaries in the 13-district RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) area and yet we maintain the lowest per-pupil expenditures,” he said.

The school system is getting grants for charter schools and vocational education for fiscal 2012, as well as government assistance for school nutrition programs and for portions of Navy ROTC programs.

The school board also adopted the 2011-2012 academic year calendar at the Monday meeting.

The calendar has Feb. 17 marked as a reduced work schedule day that will be put back on if finances look good in December,

Schofield said, along with two inclement weather days on May 18 and 21.

“If there are no snow days, then everything backs up two days and school will be out on the 17 and not the 21,” he said.

The final fiscal 2012 Hall County School Board budget will be adopted at noon at a June 23 called meeting. The June 13 work session will have time for public comment regarding the budget.

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