Thursday, July 18, 2024
Happening Now

Clay Schools Budget Tightening, But Solid

Clay County School Board approved the first draft of a new fiscal year budget Thursday night with a move to “tighten up” spending.

Finance Director Ashley White said the plan includes a $45,000 salary for teachers, as the system moves toward the new state mandate. For non-certified personnel, the proposal includes a $1 per hour raise. School Board Chair Benji Bailey said ESSER funding from the last several years has gone away.

“Going forward, I think she made a very true statement there that it will be something that we’ll have to watch as these asset funds continue to dry up,” Bailey said. “And some of the other grants that we’ve used to help support our school system tremendously and pay for a lot of the things that that you see in our system. As those go away, we will have to be returned to some days when it was a little bit tighter in a lot of areas.”

White said she included an additional bus driver, in case of need as the school year begins. The budget also includes two extra teaching positions, in case of need.

“That is just strictly for numbers in case we have trouble,” White said. “That’s standard for us to try to build something like that in. We have one right now that is one student away from having to be placed. And then we don’t know, come July, August, what will happen. So we always hold that extra one in just in case we know that one’s troublesome.”

The budget features several projects to be paid for through grant money including LED lighting at the Hermitage Springs Gym.

Bailey said the school system has made a lot of improvements over the last several years with money everyone knew would not last.

“I think this budget reflects that, but still gives us room to meet the needs of the kids,” Bailey said. “At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. Motion to approve, that is the general.”

In other business, the board approved money to fix a drainage issue at the School System Central Office. Bailey said new gutters have caused water to pond in new areas.

“It looks a lot better,” Bailey said. “With that, though, brought some more issues. Now, since all the water is coming off the roof in a couple of different areas, now it’s leaking into the basement there at the central office.”

The system will go forward with a bid to fix the issue. Board also approved bids for maintenance supplies, gas and diesel for the coming year.