Lanett BOE hosts budget hearing

Published 4:07 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

LANETT — The Lanett City Board of Education held an open budget hearing Thursday afternoon to review a proposed spending plan for the 2018-19 school year.

The annual budget will likely be approved at the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday. Under state law, a board-approved local school budget must be in the office of the State Department of Education by Monday, Sept. 16.

Chief Financial Officer Gwyn Barnes explained the main features of the proposed spending plan. Largely due to a teacher pay raise, Lanett will be receiving more than $390,000 more from the state in the coming year than it has in the current school year.

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Foundation Program funds will rise from $5.4 million to $5.8 million. Total revenues will come to just more than $10.1 million. Of this figure, $6.6 million will come from the state, $1.7 million from the federal government, $1.6 million from local government, $123,000 from transfers in and $17,500 from other revenues.

Close to two-thirds of the budget is from the state, 17 percent from the federal level and 16 percent local. More than half of the budget — 55 percent — is for salaries and benefits.

Total expenditures are projected to be just less than $10 million. Of this amount, a little less than $5 million will be going to W.O. Lance Elementary School, $2.6 million to Lanett High and slightly more than $1 million to Lanett Junior High. A pre-K through sixth grade school, W.O. Lance has the largest enrollment of any Lanett city school. The total of 558 students is slightly up from this past year. The school has about 60 employees.

Lanett High will have around 230 students this year. Enrollment is up 7 percent from this past year. The school has 30 employees. Lanett Junior High has 107 students this year and 13 employees in the grades seven and eight school. Enrollment is up 3.65 percent this year at LJHS.

Altogether, the Lanett school system has a little more than 900 students and is up an estimated 14 students from this past year.

One figure reported in the budget was pleasing to Board President Gwen Harris-Brooks — the number of specialist and advanced degrees held by Lanett teachers is rising. In the past year, that’s gone up to 63 percent from 58 percent of the staff.

“That’s wonderful,” Harris-Brooks said. “That is such good news.”

An estimated 36 percent of Lanett teachers have bachelor’s degrees, 46 percent have master’s degrees and 17 percent specialist degrees.

The system has average teaching experience of 11 years per teacher.

“I’s obvious that a lot of hard work went into this budget. We thank you for that,” Board Member Katie Walton said to Barnes and her staff.

Superintendent Jennifer Boyd also thanked Boyd and her staff for their work.

“If you have any questions about what’s in the budget, feel free to ask her about it,” she told board members.