$32.5M budget approved

The Fort Payne Board of Education approved its $32.5 million budget at Thursday’s meeting for the 2020 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2019.

This week, the board held two budget hearings as a requirement before approving the final numbers. Monday, department heads presented their proposed budgets for each program at the schools, including Career Tech, Child Nutrition Program, Transportation, among others.

Patty Pope, chief schools financial officer, said the total expected revenue totaled $32.5 million and the expected expenditures equaled $32.4 million.

After excess revenues and funds, the ending fund balance is expected to reach $12.9 million.

“[The state has] increased almost everything that we’re doing for the upcoming fiscal year,” Pope said on Thursday.

Along with taking in more than they are spending on this year’s budget, Pope said the staff will see an increase in payroll, as well.

“These figures include for every position, including principles and including the superintendent, a four percent raise that the legislature passed for this school year,” she said.

Superintendent Jim Cunningham also presented the Capital Plan that encompasses five years of proposed projects throughout the school district.

At the top of the list is the new elementary school that will replace Williams Avenue Elementary School, which is currently under construction. Even after the $20 million city-issued bond.

After bond issue, $3.5 million remains on the district’s shoulders as they plan for the upcoming years.

Cunningham said the items listed in the plan for the 2019-20 school year are what need the most focus right now. These include:

• the new elementary school

• HVAC upgrades

• painting

• replace roof shingles on main hall in FPHS

• security cameras

• playground equipment for new school

• active panel promethean boards

• resurface track, runways and high jump area

• add softball hitting facility

• one new bus, regular route

• bus lift/rack

• 500 new chromebooks for new school

• Agriculture department farm project

• one activity bus

• tennis court renovation and four new tennis courts

• paving repairs

• Vocational Construction Facility

• Asbestos abatement and retiling floors

• gutter and stucco repair

• one tractor and implements

After the second budget hearing held Thursday, the board held their regularly scheduled meeting and heard updates from Thomas Whitton, director of DeKalb County Youth Services.

The program, located on the campus of the DeKalb County Technology in Rainsville, serves county and city schools students that have juvenile charges and offers an intervention program for at-risk students.

Cunningham said it has made a world of difference having a local program to council students that have been taken out of the classroom for various reasons.

“Before this opportunity came our way, we would usually have to wait on opportunities in Etowah County or farther south and it might take weeks to get there,” he said.

Whitton said the program is in its eleventh year and has grown in staff and results, he said.

“The students that come to us have had a juvenile charge,” Whitton said. “They’re usually there for possession of drugs or alcohol, weapons at school or some type of physical altercation that is serious enough to file charges.”

Fort Payne City Schools had 10 students that recently participated in the program, 10 from the high school and two from the middle school. The staff offers interventions, along with daily therapy and contact with guardians. A substance abuse therapist was hired just this week to assist students struggling with drug abuse therapist, Whitton said.

Cunningham said this is structured but positive for students and he thanked Whitton for his continued service through the program.

The board also:

• approved Kathy Landry as the accounts payable bookkeeper/secretary at the Central office, effective Sept. 9, 2019 and non-renew her contract on June 30, 2020.

• approved Nicollette Waller as the system-wide vocational rehabilitation job coach within the Fort Payne City School System, effective Sept. 3, 2019 and non-renew her contract on May 22, 2020.

• approved Tammy Newman as half-time guidance counselor at Fort Payne High School, effective Sept. 3, 2019 and non-renew her contract on May 22, 2020.

• approved Steve Chambers as part-time career tech teacher at Fort Payne High School, effective Sept. 3, 2019 and non-renew his contract on May 22, 2020.

• approved Cody Willingham as an eighth grade boys basketball coach, effective for the 2019-20 school year.

• approved Brack Shields as the boys assistant soccer coach, effective for the 2019-20 school year.

• approved additions to the following substitute personnel lists: CNP, nurse and teacher.

• approved Karen Keeling as sixth grade teacher at FPMS to provide homebound services per physician's written orders until student is able to return to school or moves out of FP City School System effective Aug. 19, 2019.

• approved the request to purchase “Science Studies Weekly” as a resource to be used with the second grade science curriculum.

• approved the lowest bid for the following equipment from Hotel and Restaurant Supply for one Traulsen single-door milk cooler at FPMS for $3,268.

• approved the following requests for out-of-state travel: Brian Jett, FPHS ninth grade football team on Sept. 9 at Chattooga County High School in Summerville, Georgia and Jennifer List, WAES selected physical education students on Oct. 18, 2019 at Menlo Cross Country Meet.

• approved the 2019-20 five-year capital plan.

• approved the FY 2020 budget and salary schedules.

• approved the July 2019 financial statements.

• approved to set the next Fort Payne Board of Education meeting on Sept. 26, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the conference room of the Central Office.

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