County school board passes budgets

July 18, 2009

Neal Wagner -


The Lowndes County School District Friday approved 2009-2010 expenditure and revenue budgets nearly identical to the budgets approved by the district one year ago. 


The LCSD during a brief Friday meeting voted unanimously to approve a $48,263,789 revenue budget and a $48,889,947 expenditure budget for the upcoming school year. 


"Those dollar figures are either exactly the same or very close to the numbers we had last year. We didn''t ask for more money this year," said LCSD Superintendent Mike Halford. "With the times that a lot of people are facing, this is definitely not the time for us to splurge. 


"We tried to keep the same figures and still maintain our staff as best we could," Halford added. "That is what we are most pleased with." 




Sources and spending 


The proposed budget will be split between the nine Caledonia, West Lowndes and New Hope schools included in the LCSD, which have a combined enrollment of nearly 5,300. If distributed evenly, the 2009-2010 budget would allow for about $8,847 spent for each student. 


Of the revenue budget, about 49 percent will come from state sources, about 38 percent will come from local sources, 12 percent will come from federal sources and less than 1 percent will come from 16th Section land sources. 


In the expenditure budget, about 55 percent will fund classroom instructional needs; about 35 percent will fund support services, like custodial and maintenance needs; and about 4 percent for noninstructional services.  


Also included in the expenditure budget is about 2 percent each for facilities acquisition and construction and debt principal and about 2 percent for other debt payments and 16th Section land needs. 


As part of the facilities construction and support services, the district allowed about $1.2 million for capital projects. 


"There are several things that we absolutely have to do with air conditioning and roof repairs at some of our facilities," Halford said Friday. "We have some metal and some flat-top roofs that need repair. It''s easy to get someone to work on a flat-top roof, but it''s hard to get someone to go up on a metal roof." 


Although the district budgeted for the repairs, the federal government within the next two years may award the LCSD a $3 million grant to use for other facility improvements across the district, Halford explained.  


"We applied for a federal grant that will be in addition to that capital money if we get it," Halford said. "That will go a long way toward helping us complete these improvements.  


"We are anticipating that money in the next two years," Halford added. "They will give out the grants on a first come-first serve basis, and we were one of the first in the state to have the application in." 


Because the Lowndes County tax office has projected the value of a property tax mill in the county will decline next year, the district likely will raise its millage rate in the county. 


"We don''t know what our millage rate is going to be yet, because they haven''t determined what a mill is worth for the next year," Halford said. "The projection for the value of a mill is less than it was a year ago.  


"So we are pretty sure we are going to have to raise the millage rate some because of that," Halford added. The district''s 2009 millage rate was 44.23.