Chambers County Board of Education passes budget

Published 9:00 am Friday, September 13, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers County Board of Education approved its operating budget for Fiscal Year 2020 Wednesday night with the expectation to bring in more than $39 million in revenue for the year.

Based on figures presented by Chambers County Schools Superintendent Kelli Hodge, the district is expected to bring in $39,275,030 in revenues and projected to spend $38,793.605, making for a projected $481,425 surplus.

Hodge said the district will receive more money from the state legislature this year but that is due to the mandated raise to all public-school K-12 educators in the state. She said she expects the district to receive a bit more local tax dollars as well, but the staff was conservative in its estimates because it didn’t want to overshoot the number of tax dollars coming in.

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The district was cut in federal funds by about $63,000, which helps to sustain the district’s special education. However, Hodge said the money from the federal government doesn’t help too much.

“It does not even fund a quarter of our special education program,” she said. “Our local funds have to pick up a lot of our special education needs.”

About 65 percent of Chambers County’s budget is dedicated to helping students. More than $18.5 million is earmarked for instructional purposes and about $6.4 million is scheduled for support services for students.

Additionally, $15.6 million of the budget will go toward paying the salaries of certificated teachers and $4.7 million is expected to be paid out to support staff.

All in all, Hodge said about $29.3 million will be paid out for salaries within the district, which is about 74 percent of the budget.

She said certificated staff dollars are actually down a bit from a previous budget hearing because the district is down two special education teachers, but the district has hired paraprofessional staff to help fill the gap in the upcoming year.