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BOE OKs budget adjustment

COVINGTON - The Newton County Board of Education unanimously approved the Newton County School System's recommendation of a midterm adjustment of its budget with the exception of two items.

NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley recommended at the board's work session last week that the board approve a net midterm adjustment of more than $330,000, which is lower than some previous years since student enrollment hasn't increased as much this school year.

At Tuesday's board meeting, the members approved all of the adjustment except for a hold of $500,000.

"With the uncertainty of midterm adjustment monies, the textbook funds ($200,000) and the summer maintenance funds ($300,00) are on hold until the legislative session ends, and we know for certain what our midterm funds are," said Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for administration at NCSS, in an e-mail Thursday. "We will just add it back in as funds become available."

She said the school system should know towards the end of April how much is approved.

Whatley said the school system's recommendation of $3.3 million in expenditures is based on a preliminary additional revenue estimate of more than $3.4 million and a $200,000 budgeted contingency.

"Of the slightly more than $3.4 million anticipated in additional revenue, $2.5 million is a result of additional revenue due to increased student growth. The remaining is a result of additional state and E-Rate funds," reads Whatley's recommendation to the Newton County Board of Education.

The school system's recommended expenditures are more than $2 million for the 2007-08 school year and more than $1.2 million for the summer and preparation of the 2008-09 school year.

"Of the additional funds expended for this year's operations, almost $1.2 million went toward salaries and benefits to pay teachers and other staff needed due to increased student enrollment and other requirements, such as No Child Left Behind," Whatley's recommendation reads. "Another $1 million was expended on technology and related trailer-moving expenses due to Choice and maximum class size."

The 2007-08 expenditures also included $116,625 in increased costs in health insurance; $47,826 for library book security at Newton High School; $25,000 for band equipment at Newton and Eastside high schools; and $156,896 in emergency maintenance items; staph infection control; modifying the day care room at Sharp Learning Center; additional waste management services; and repairing lights at the Newton High School baseball field, according to a preliminary estimate for the 2007-08 Mid-Term Adjustment from NCSS.

Whatley's recommendation is requesting the board approve more than $1.2 million for summer and funding needed to prepare for the start of the 2008-09 school year.

This includes $150,000 in start-up instructional costs for the new South Salem Elementary School; $59,759 for band uniforms at Newton High School; $24,528 for Advanced Placement exams; $10,000 for middle school band and chorus programs; and $221,930 for the purchase of library books at Rocky Plains Elementary School and Alcovy High School that are needed to meet SACS requirements.

It also includes $135,000 in additional fuel costs, which Robertson said were due to increased fuel prices.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.