By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Board of Education held a second budget hearing for fiscal year 2022 just prior to the regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 26.
Total estimated revenues in the general fund are $19,762,667. General fund revenues would be $12,559.029 from state funds, $5,862,647 from local taxes, and $1,341,000 from other local sources.
Estimated expenses are $18,759,687, for a net difference of $1,002,980. The estimated beginning fund balance on July 1, 2021 was $4,204.922, and the projected ending fund balance on June 30, 2022 will be $5,207,902.
There are a handful of factors that go into the projected surplus in the general fund balance for fiscal year 2022. These include: reduced general fund expenditures by $1.4 million, $465,235 in equalization funding, partial restoration of austerity reductions in the amount of $512,696, and federal relief funds, which have a period of availability that will end.
The proposed budget presented was calculated on a millage rate of 14.750 and was based off of a projected 3 percent increase in the tax digest.
“We received the tax digest last week after our first budget hearing and there is an increase of 7.5 percent,” Superintendent Josh Ingle said.
The millage rage for fiscal year 2021 was 15.330 and the value of a mill was $395,785.
With the projected fund balance, the tentative budget is based on lowering the millage rate from 15.330 to 14.750.
“Based on new information, we could potentially look at lowering the millage rate a little more,” Ingle said. “We will be setting up some meetings, and the county has the millage rate hearing on Aug. 16.”
The board approved the final budget during the regular meeting.
Also during the regular meeting, Davis Elementary Principal, Charity Barton, gave an end of school year summary to the board.
Enrollment at Davis started at 257 in August, and ended in May with 255. Virtual enrollment went from 74 students to 29.
“Not unlike the little engine that could, we had to figure out how to climb this mountain,” Barton said. “Our students came ready to learn and a lot of them came in wearing masks. I really feel like them doing that helped our numbers stay low.”
There were nine student positive COVID-19 cases and 96 student quarantines.
Barton thanked both the teachers and the cafeteria staff for coordinating breakfast to be eaten in the classrooms, and having a safe environment in the cafeteria for lunch.
Barton also noted that the parents and the community helped out by handing out items like notebooks, backpacks, water bottles and masks.
“I cannot say enough about our custodians. They work so hard. They stayed every Wednesday afternoon to fog our entire building,” Barton said.
At the beginning of the school year, 28 percent of students were reading on grade level. At the end of the year, it was 67 percent. 22 percent of students were on grade level in math, and that went up to 78 percent.
“We are looking forward to a great year and we appreciate all you guys do to support us,” Barton said.
Ingle reported on maintenance updates, including a new high quality diagnostic machine to diagnose mechanical issues on system vehicles.
In addition, a new roof top air conditioning unit was installed at the Dade Elementary School upper gym, and a new air conditioning unit installed in the server room at Dade Middle School.
The door on the old school building located on the property of the Central Office has been repaired and painted and the front steps have been updated. The steps were replaced with 100–year–old barn wood donated by Chuck Carver.
Chris Greene, Director of Technology Information and Networking, reported that the department has had a busy summer, working on multiple projects.
Greene noted that the entire wireless system has been replaced, and the new phone system has been installed.
Paula Stallings with the finance department presented the financial report.
“As you all know, our fiscal year period ended June 30, 2021. I will have general fund financial statements as soon as we complete our year end closing,” Stallings said.
The SPLOST ending balance for the month of June was $1,988,933.37. June SPLOST collections were $258,717.84.
The board approved the purchase of a refurbished 2016 John Deere Mower from Coastal Sports Turf LLC, for $29,995.
The board also approved a one year contract for Glimpse K-12, software which manages effectiveness of resources and reducing student learning loss. The cost will be picked up through CARES funding.
The board approved the agreement for services of a certified athletic trainer with Erlanger Health System. The services will cost $30 per athlete, and an invoice will be sent in the spring. It covers all practices including football, softball, volleyball. Home and away football games will both be covered, and other sports will be home games only.
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel and property.
The board approved the following personnel report: the resignations of Stephanie Shupe, Susan Fields and Sonya Renfroe. Angela Dimos will voluntary transfer to part-time, Levi Binegar will transfer to full-time and Lindsey Gil will transfer to full-time. The following people will be hired: Thlisa Ambrose, Leah Smith, John Kern, Daniel Ray, and the fiscal year 2022 coaching staff. Heather Holder and Courtney Yates were hired as substitute staff for the cafeteria.
The next Board of Education meeting will be Aug. 23.