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Washington County budget officials to tackle school request

Robert Houk • May 5, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The Washington County Board of Education has approved a $71,872,032 budget for the new fiscal year, but that figure is likely to change in the coming weeks.

The spending request, which is nearly $3 million more than the current school budget, will be heard by the county’s Budget Committee at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The County Commission must approve school funding for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“When you see the new school budget, don’t have a cardiac arrest,” Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy told Budget Committee members at a meeting last month. “This is all part of the process.”

County officials say the budget-setting process is fairly simple. Brad Hale, the county school system’s finance director, said commissioners can either approve the budget as submitted or send it back to the Board of Education “for revisions.”

Board members approved their new budget proposal at a workshop last month. The school system’s amended budget for the current fiscal year is $68,727,348.

School officials have also set a priority list for capital projects in the 2019-20 budget year. Those projects were approved by the county’s Health, Education and Welfare Committee last week.

The capital items to be sent to the Budget Committee for its approval this week are $503,000 to replace school buses and $640,000 for technology. Hale said the latter will go  to buy Chrome Books for the classrooms.

“These things are already budgeted by the school system, and are needed yearly,” said Commissioner Danny Edens, the chairman of the HEW Committee. “They are already rotating buses on an annual basis.”

School leaders have also ranked replacement of a boiler and heating and cooling controls at David Crockett High School high on their capital needs list. Edens said school and county officials are still discussing the $2.2 million project with engineers, and it may be addressed in June.

Other possible school capital projects that have been identified in the next fiscal year include:

• $300,000 for brick repair at Gray Elementary School.

• $1.89 million for re-roofing at Daniel Boone HIgh School.

• $280,000 to replace door hardware and frames at Fall Branch and Sulphur Springs elementary schools.

Several big-ticket capital projects have been slated for the 2021-22 fiscal year, including athletic stadium improvements at Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools that could cost as much as $14 million. 

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