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Scott BOE approves budget for 2007-2008

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Mar 28, 2007 at 12:36 PM

GATE CITY - The Scott County Board of Education approved a $35.7 million 2007-2008 school budget Tuesday.

The Scott County Board of Supervisors will be asked April 4 for $5.2 million in local funds to run Scott County Schools another year. More than three-quarters of the school budget - about $27 million - is coming from the coffers in Richmond.

"We're going to get about a million more from the state this year," said Scott County School Superintendent Jim Scott.

A local match of $211,000 is necessary to get the extra state funding, but Scott said the county will be getting its $211,000 back in two different ways.

The school system could return almost $200,000 to the county through payment of indirect costs, such as attorney fees and purchasing assistance, Scott said.

The county will also be gaining $70,000 or $80,000 as some of the school system's debt service runs out this year.

Both county and state funding are expected to increase about 4 percent for the next fiscal year.

Scott estimates the student population to increase in the county from 3,840 to 3,880, a 1 percent increase. He got the figure of 3,880 for next year by using the outgoing senior class numbers and recent years' kindergarten class numbers.

While a six-year population estimator is prepared by the state, Scott said it is usually inaccurate for the county.

"They have shown a loss of 150 a year for us for several years, and that just has not happened," he said.

The increase in funding will show up in both pay increases and capital improvement projects.

Scott is proposing a 4 percent salary increase for all school employees. That will be in addition to regular step increases.

Scott, with help from his staff, began preparing the budget in January. Included in the budget are several large construction projects.

"We made the commitment a year ago to the board that we would do something about a lack of gym space in the county," he said.

Since the boys and girls basketball seasons began running concurrently, the teams have had to schedule gym time for practices that often run late into the night.

"The seventh, eighth, JV and varsity teams all had to practice, and there wasn't enough gyms for all those teams," Scott said. "In Gate City, it wasn't a problem. But we made a commitment to build a gym at Duffield. That will run about $980,000 and be done in about three months. We made a commitment to build one at Twin Springs High School. We're going to open the bids in April for the Twin Springs gym, but money will come out of next year's budget."

There has also been a need for more classroom space in the county's elementary schools.

"We added four at Duffield and Shoemaker elementary schools," he said. "Now we're going to add two classrooms at Yuma Elementary School. "

Other major upcoming expenses will include a field house at Rye Cove High School and paving projects at schools around the county.

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