County approves $125M budget

Chief School Financial Officer Anthony Cooper led the board's final public budget hearing during Thursday’s work session.

The DeKalb County School Board on Thursday approved the $125 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Chief School Financial Officer Anthony Cooper led the board's final public budget hearing during Thursday’s work session.

“For right now our budget this year is at $125 million,” he said. “That is easily the largest budget we’ve ever had and that is mostly due to the ESSER funds which are related to COVID-19 that the federal government has allocated to us.”

Referring to his previous wording of “for right now,” Cooper said much of their federal money has a one or two-year carryover. Therefore, the final result of the carryover won't be known until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Cooper walked through various financing aspects of the budget, focusing on the breakdown of revenue percentages, which included State revenue 52%, Federal revenue 33%, Local revenue 14% and Other revenue 1%.

Noting the increase from last year's percentage, he said state revenue is up about 3%, federal is up over 200% due to the COVID-19 related federal fund and local is down.

“Our total federal budget this year is $41 million and ESSER funds make up $21 million of that,” said Cooper.

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills that provided nearly $190.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.

Cooper said the funds are earmarked for learning laws, reducing the achievement gaps, before and after school tutoring programs, summer enrichment which focuses largely on literacy, health services and employees such as nurses, health supplies and equipment, energy reduction infrastructure and infrastructure that would reduce the possibility of germs or spreading of certain diseases and wireless devices including instructional, bus wifi and connectivity.

Switching gears from revenue to expenditures, he provided a breakdown of some of the major categories, providing the following percentages and noted all expenditures were within an acceptable range:

• Instructional Services 47%

• Instructional Support 12%

• Operations and Maintenance 15%

• Transportation 6%

• Child Nutrition 6%

• General Administrative Services 5%

• Capital Outlay 6%

• Debt Services 1%

• Other 2%

“As I said earlier, this is the largest budget we’ve ever had with $125 million. The more funds you have the longer it takes to plan and be efficient with that money to be effective,” Cooper said. “I am really pleased with this budget and I feel it’s going to be very useful and efficient.”

During Thursday night's regular meeting, the board of education unanimously approved the transfer of Plainview High School’s Assistant Principal, Chris Clark to principal with a two-year probationary contract beginning Sept. 9, 2021, to Aug. 31, 2023.

Board member Carol Hiett took the opportunity to congratulate Clark on his new position and commending him and the Plainview staff for their efforts while they’ve been short an administrator.

The board also:

• approved the school’s financial statements/general fund bank reconciliation and local school fund balance, bill and accounts

• approved the On the Job Injury of Robert Ferguson - custodian - Ider High School - 90 days

• approved the resignation of Jenifer Willoughby - assistant custodian (9-hour/7-month) - Geraldine High School (effective 10/1/21)

• approved the leave of absence of Cheryl Wilborn - itinerant school nurse - Plainview High School - 8/2/21-10/25/21, Tanya Ford - EL teacher - Collinsville High School - 8/16/21-9/14/21, Traci Treadaway - elementary teacher - Geraldine High School - 8/2/21-5/27/22 (extended from 10/31/21) and William Chandler - science teacher - Crossville High School - 8/30/21-5/30/22

(Intermittent)

• approved the transfer of Chris Clark - assistant principal at Plainview to 12 month principal at Plainview High School (2021-254) (Two-Year Probationary Contract 9/1/21-8/31/23) and Heather Brown - assistant principal at Sylvania High School to instructional supervisor at the Central Office (2021-252)

• approved the certified placement (All placements are made pending a background review meeting suitability criteria and negative, pre-employment drug screen and appropriate certification): Theia Taylor - itinerant speech language pathologist - District (2021-286) (effective 10/1/21), Madison Stone - elementary teacher - Sylvania High School (2021-289) and Ann Brownfield - elementary teacher (leave from 9/13/21-11/19/21) - Collinsville High School (2021-293)

• approved the support placement of Matthew Allison - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Ider Special Services Center (2021-285), Mahala Patterson - assistant custodian (9-month/4-hour) - Plainview High School (2021-287), Timothy White - P.E. aide - Plainview High School (2021-290) (effective 9/20/21) and Ronald Anderson - bus driver (tech route only) - Ider High School (2021-292)

• approved the following contracts: In-school and After-school Tutoring - GEER - Elizabeth Barrientos - Collinsville High School - Sherri Haas - Collinsville High School - Connie McFall - Plainview High School and Riley Thrasher - Collinsville High School, Homebound - IDEA B - Richlon Sabrina Gore and Amanda Woodall, Amy Childress - Gifted Services - State Gifted, Beverly Rusk - Bookkeeper Services - Crossville Middle School - Local, Student Computer Technician - Local - Treston Cuzzort and Donovan Smith, Custodial Support - ESSER I - Chris Davis - Plainview High School - Jordan Todd King - Henagar Jr. High School - Brice Mayes - Fyffe High School and Ricky Willyard - Ruhama Jr. High School, Bus Driver (Gifted Route) - Local - James Hamby - Crossville Schools and Charles Randall Templeton - Collinsville and Ruhama Schools, DVA Teachers - Amy Dyar, Tracy Tidmore, Scott Timmons, Justin Croley, Kelly Maddox, Daniel Williams, Beverly Ledbetter, Harold Bouldin and Michael Phillips, TEAMS Science - Karan Shankles - Plainview High School and Glenn Haynes - Contract Teacher - Geraldine High School

• approved the following volunteer coaches: Collinsville High School - Lydia Peek - volleyball, Ider High School - Anthony Blevins - baseball - Jason Hood - baseball - Matthew Allison - football, Fyffe High School - Harley Cambron - volleyball and softball, Geraldine High School - Stefanie Jordan Bryant - cheerleading - Carlos Benitez - football and Russell Hatley - football, Plainview High School - Brandon Freeman - softball and Morgan Richey - volleyball, Sylvania High School - Staton Robbins - basketball, Chase Willingham - baseball, Scott Smith - baseball, Chris Mattox - baseball, Ron Stopyak - soccer, Gary Talley - basketball, Derek Talley - basketball, Justin Lea - football, Austin Wilson - football and Andrew Duncan - football, Valley Head High School - Wesley Frost - football and basketball

• approved the following superintendent’s recommendations, comments and reports:

- permission to place personnel pending board approval.

- posting of the following job descriptions: Facilities Improvement Manager, Summer Program Teacher, Intervention Teacher and Tutor.

- fleet renewal pertaining to the trading of an SUV and the additional purchase of another SUV.

- discussed the Chief of Staff Supplement increased from $4,800 to $10,000.

- the board welcomed guest speaker Jon Bales, who spoke of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

– Editor’s note: An in-depth story is being developed by staff writer Cinthia Rico and will appear in an upcoming edition of the Times-Journal.

The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2021 with a work session at 4:30 and regular meeting at 5 p.m. in the meeting room of the Facilities Building.

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