July 22, 2009 10:29:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- School board members approved the $57 million 2009-2010 budget for Starkville public schools in a meeting where they also voted to issue $8.575 million in bonds for continued construction.
The budget contains $18.26 million in state funding and will tax Starkville residents at 62.31 mills. The millage rate is just slightly less than what was taxed last year.
The budget is inflated again this year by more than $11 million in planned bond issue construction costs. At Tuesday''s meeting, the board unanimously approved the budget with board member Eddie Myles absent.
Comptroller Rob Logan said the budget was unchanged from what was presented to the board last week in the public hearing. Keith Coble had the only comment.
"The effort to consolidate non-instructional services in a tight budget situation is appreciated," he said.
Pickett Wilson made the motion, seconded by Coble and passed unanimously, to issue the third round of bonds for district construction. Superintendent Judy Couey said the timing will allow the district to take advantage of favorable interest rates on the bonds, and the district will need the money soon to fund the ongoing work.
Work that remains includes the extensive Henderson Intermediate School renovation, parking and landscaping at each location and some work at the high school, Couey said.
The district still has not received confirmation that it will receive the $3 million interest-free bond it applied for earlier this year from federal stimulus money. Couey said many districts received word early in the month that they did not receive the interest-free loans that they applied for.
"In this situation, no news is good news," she said.
In the meeting, the board also approved the purchase of 51 global positioning system units for the district''s school buses at a cost of nearly $39,000. Each bus will have a GPS unit, and staff will be trained in how to use them.
"It will allow us to more accurately track our buses, their routes, speed and give us better accountability for them," Couey said.
The board went into closed session to discuss a personnel matter and pending litigation. They will meet again at 6 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Greensboro Center.