“At this point in time the finance department is fully involved in developing the FY 2014 budget; we’ve worked with different individuals to determine what some of the needs are as well as begin anticipating our staffing needs and try and get a grip on our [full-time equivalents] for next year,” Hooper said during Monday’s work session.
The FY 2013 budget ultimately approved by the board did not include a millage rate increase, but an increase was proposed by Superintendent John Harper, citing an approximate $15.8 million reduction in funding. The budget included the termination of about 20 employees as well as furloughs for all employees in the system, even at the central office, as well as an abbreviated calendar.
Hooper said the FY 2012 audit is expected to be available for review by the board next month.
“At this point we have no reason to believe there will be any findings of anything negative in that report,” Hooper said.
For ongoing budget coverage, read The Daily Tribune News.
In other school news, the board voted this week to approve keeping the established 2013 meeting calendar flexible if there are abbreviated agendas during the month, giving the board the ability to move multiple meetings to a single night.
“I know that [board members] have other meetings associated with the school system — we have committee meetings, we have special called meetings, we have budget meetings ... and I know you field calls during the day,” Harper said. “There are some system cost savings in regard to not having two meetings every month, especially when we don’t have a big agenda and don’t need [two meetings in a month].”
Board attorney Boyd Pettit reiterated that if multiple meetings are to be held on the same day, the board still has the same legal requirements to inform the press and post its agenda for the public 24 hours in advance.
Traditionally, the board holds its work session the second Monday of the month and its business session on the third Monday of the month with called meetings scheduled as needed.
The board heard the first reading of the next year’s student calendar, which remains similar to the city’s calendar. A notable change to last year’s calendar is the transition of fall break being the Monday and Tuesday of Columbus Day week instead of the Thursday and Friday before the holiday.
“We had about 67.4 percent [of teachers] choose this calendar ... with a 190-day school year for teachers and a 180-day school year for students,” Director of Curriculum Jim Gottwald said.
The calendar is expected to be made available for view on the system website, www.bartow.k12.ga.us., at a later date.