Upgrades proposed for local schools

Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Major maintenance needs at four local high schools were listed for funding in the proposed 2018 fiscal year budget during a budget work session on Aug. 22.

Each of these issues were brought up by community members during town hall meetings held over the summer. Verbena High School would receive new plumbing and bathrooms in the gym. The project is estimated to cost $150,000. Maplesville High School would receive renovations to the bathroom on the elementary and high school halls, estimated to cost $75,000. The back parking lot at Chilton County High School will be improved for an estimated $100,000.

At Isabella High School, the bathrooms located outside auditorium would be renovated. This project is expected to cost $50,000. Isabella would also be receiving $100,000 for an assessment for a new multi-purpose building. The booster club has already been raising money for the project, and the school board plans to match these funds. The building would include a weight room that could be used by all athletes. Physical education classes would also use the building.

Funding for the school system for fiscal year 2018 was based on an average daily attendance of 7,626.85 students. This is a slight decrease from the previous year. Chilton County Schools is funded through state foundation funds as well as state, federal and local revenue. For the 2018 fiscal year, Chilton County Schools will receive $43.17 million in state foundation funding, $6.6 million in additional state funding, $3.9 million in local funding and $4.4 million in federal funding. Most of the local funding comes from property taxes.

“Pretty much it’s level funding, probably a little more for inflation, but not much compared to what we received last year,” Williams said.

The foundation revenue funds certified salaries, support salaries, benefits technology, library enhancement, classroom instruction support, textbooks and professional development. Williams said there will be a change in how some of these funds are distributed for the next year. Funding for technology, textbooks and professional development will be kept at the central office and released to schools based on specific requests.

Transportation expenses related to school buses will be entirely funded within the $3.38 million given to the school system by the state, if Williams’ proposal is approved. In the past, transportation expenses have sometimes been over budget.

Board member Pam Price asked what the arrangement would be for fueling the buses. Williams said these employees would remain in their positions and continue to receive their salaries, but

the additional supplement per bus would be eliminated.

State funding will not be sufficient to cover the $752,719 proposed for school nurses or the $498,376 proposed for technology. Williams said state foundation money would also be used to supplement these items.

Other expenditures for positions and programs are budgeted to be within the amount funded by the state.

The school system has $1.7 million in debt and will be paying off $339,121 of this in the 2018 fiscal year.

Williams noted that 53 percent of teachers in the system have a master’s degree or higher. The average teaching experience is 11 years.

The next budget meeting will be held on Sept. 6 at 1 pm. in the Chilton County Board of Education at 1705 Lay Dam Road.