The Dawson County Board of Education has unanimously approved a budget for the 2021-22 school year, with minor changes from the original tentative budget.
At their meeting on Tuesday, June 15, BOE members approved the final budget which includes $44,868,593 in general funding, $3,407,875 in debt service funding, $18,828,357 in capital projects funding and $6,135,526 in special revenue funding.
According to Chief Financial Officer Jamie Ulrich, a few minor changes have been to the proposed budget since the board first tentatively approved it in May. These changes include adjusting the projected Ad Valorem tax that will be given to the school, which was originally projected to be a 5% increase but has since been adjusted to zero since the school system does not yet have any information on what the tax digest will look like.
“Because we originally had projected a 5% increase in the digest and we’re gonna make that flat, I’ve taken away $1.1 million in revenue accordingly,” Ulrich said.
Superintendent Damon Gibbs added that as more information about the tax digest revenue becomes available, the board members will adjust their conversation about the budget accordingly.
“Our conversation will be a lot different if our tax digest increases,” Gibbs said. “We’re just gonna wait until we get a number and that will drive our conversation about the millage rate.”
According to Ulrich, since the tentative budget was approved in May, they also made expense changes to the proposed budget, taking into account both personnel changes, like teachers who have announced their retirement since the tentative budget was approved, and expense changes, like the 7% reduction the school system was given on worker’s compensation rates.
“All of the expense changes I have made to the tentative budget since the May 11 meeting is a total of $27,000 less,” Ulrich said.
The 2021-22 general fund budget includes $600,000 to fund three teacher growth positions, two sign language interpreters, two technology positions and one courier position. Funding for additional positions is also built into the general fund budget in preparation for anticipated growth in the number of students in Dawson County.
The general fund also includes $639,000 for employee salary adjustments and step raises, as well as $193,000 for teacher retirement rate increases.
Most of the biggest projects and expenses included in the upcoming budget will be funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) dollars, including new agricultural science and multi-purpose facilities at Dawson County High School.
Board members unanimously approved the proposed final budget for the 2021-22 school year.