School Board approves budget, SROs not included

Published 10:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Board of Education passed the $66 million budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year during a special called meeting on Sept. 6.

Board members Linda Hand, Joe Mims, Keith Moore and Curtis Smith as well as board president Lori Patterson voted in favor. Pam Price voted against. Board member Jim Shannon was absent.

A vote on the budget could not wait until the next scheduled meeting of the board because the documentation was due to the state on Sept. 15, and the board was not scheduled to meet again until Sept. 19.

During a budget work session, earlier in the day at 1 p.m., Price said she planned to vote against the budget if funding School Resource Officers was not considered.

Chief School Financial Officer LaVerne Williams said funding for school resource officers would have to come out of the general operating budget. This is required to be kept at the amount the school system would need to operate for one month. Williams included the minimum state requirement, which is $4.5 million for Chilton County. Williams mentioned this would bring the school system’s reserve to approximately $8.4 million.

“I’m sure we can afford to put them in the schools, but like I said before it will come out of that one-month operating fund,” Williams said.

Price said she was sure that local tax payers would not have a problem with the board dedicating $100,000 for paying local police departments to have an officer in each of the schools.

“I think we would benefit in the long run. We are in a day and time when child safety needs to be at the top of the board,” Price said.

Patterson said there would need to be more discussion before the board could add the item to the final budget.

“When we can increase our supplements and we can increase other funds, I just think we owe it to the students to have a police officer to be in the schools,” Price said.

Amending the budget later in the year to include SRO funding was discussed as a possibility. Moore said if SROs are something the school superintendent wanted, the budget could be amended later. Mims expressed concern that trying to include it in the 2017-2018 budget would keep the school system from meeting the Sept. 15 deadline. He asked that Glasscock look into the possibilities. Glasscock said he would.

Clanton schools have an SRO, but the position is not funded by the school system.

There were some changes to the budget from the original proposal. Williams said many of the changes were simply to make sure document requirements were met, such as including salary schedules for all positions. It also added the CSFO and school superintendent as locally funded positions.

School Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said there was also a change to the capital projects list. There was $100,000 included to fix the back parking lot and drainage issues at Thorsby High School.

The estimated enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year is 7,626 with the state funding 437 teacher units for the school system.

Also during the meeting, the board approved Elisabeth Long as a teacher at Clanton Intermediate School and three bus drivers for midday Special Education bus routes