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School board passes 2018 budget
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The Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously to pass the fiscal year 2018 general fund budget, along with additional budgets, on Monday night following the third advertised public hearing during the monthly board meeting.

The hearings were held May 2, May 8 and June 12.

"This will be the last hearing before you approve the budget for ‘18," said Director of Finance Jamie Ulrich prior to giving a final overview of the proposed budget.

The approved annual budget was set at $45,452,384 and Ulrich said she had based her numbers on a 5 percent increase in the total digest for Dawson County and maintaining the millage rate at 15.778.

The preliminary numbers for the total tax digest for Dawson County will not be available until the end of June, but a budget must be approved by that time according to law.

Millage rate hearings will not begin until August after the tax digest is known.

The budget is an increase over fiscal year 2017 of $290,090.

As has been the case, salaries and benefits account for the majority of the budget-87.79 percent.

Additions for the 2018 budget include the state-mandated two percent salary increase for teachers which equates to $540,000. Salary step increases will cost $747,802.

The system also has an additional $184,698 added through an increase in health insurance coverage and the percentage allotted for teacher's retirement jumped from 14.27 percent to 16.81 percent resulting in another $578,761 in expenses.

Additional state revenue for the added items is $894,609. The net result? Expenses exceed additional revenue by $1,156,659.

The other approved budgets on Monday include those for debt service, capital projects, Title I, Title IIA, Title VIB, federal preschool, Bright Start, Ivey funds, JROTC and school food service.

Members Karen Armstrong and Will Wade were not present during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting.