Due to budget constraints, the school calendar is currently 177 days as opposed to the traditional 180 days of instruction. The board, however, voted to postpone the passage of the calendar until June 5 when the 2015 budget is proposed.
Board member Fred Kittle said, “I definitely would like to see us get back to 180 days of instruction, but I think we should wait to see our budget. Last year we had to change the calendar three times.”
Dr. Harper assured the board there would be no negative impact by waiting to approve the calendar.
“I am just trying to get information to folks so they can plan for 180 days of instruction. I’d really like 190 days of work for teachers, but just as in our personal household, there are things we’d like to purchase but don’t have the money for. Mrs. Brown and I are working to squeeze every bit out of the money we’ve been given,” Harper said.
The cost of adding three days back to the schedule is $250,000. Harper said he would like to see those employees that are not necessarily always considered first, like bus drivers, paraprofessionals and the nutrition employees, return to their full schedule.
Megan Brown, director of finance, informed the board the outlook is positive for meeting or staying slightly under the year’s budget. The Georgia Department of Education issued preliminary allotment numbers, which convey the county will receive a one-time $2.5 million net gross increase. Additionally, the county saw a 20 percent increase in the special local option sales tax.
Upon investigation, Brown found the significant increase was due to the unusual sales tax reporting of two taxpayers.
“This would indicate that this upward swing is an anomaly. We keep hearing Georgia’s economy is on the mend, so we can just hope this becomes a trend and not just a one-time increase,” Brown said.
A revision of the student tobacco policy was approved. Electronic cigarettes were added to the list of items banned in Bartow County schools.
Allison Watkins, a media specialist at Adairsville Elementary School, was named Bartow County Employee of the Month and received a complimentary package to the Hilton Garden Inn.