School board approves 2020 budget


The Lawrence County Board of Education approved its budget for fiscal 2020 in a regular board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, and will begin the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 with $6.7 million in its general fund, according to School Accountant Suzy Berryman.

Berryman’s proposed budget showed the school system ending its fiscal year with $4.8 million in its general fund, but Berryman told board members that number did not account for $900,000 in advancement and technology funds that have already been received.

“We received that money early. It has not been spent yet and will carry over,” Berryman said. 

She said the school system has until September of next year to spend the funds, which can be spent on school security, insuring school facilities, district-wide technology and networking, or repairs and deferred maintenance.

Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said the board had allocated about $130,000 of those funds to go towards funding for six student resource officers. A majority of the A&T funds will also be spent on deferred maintenance, which includes roof repairs, flooring projects and other maintenance at various schools, he added.

Berryman told the board a projected $650,000 of Child Nutrition Program funds would stay in general fund, which is also not reflected in the proposed $4.8 ending balance.

“Child Nutrition can’t keep three-and-a-half months operating reserve,” she said. “We’ve got to get that number down to two months, so $650,000 is about what I’ve projected will be held in the pass-through.”

 With the CNP funds remaining in general fund and the A&T funds accounted for, Smith said the budget will “break even.” He said the school system should end the fiscal year with about two month’s operating reserved, more than the one-month reserve required by the state.

“We’re going to be really conservative, and we’re going to be really close again this year,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted the resignation of Vincent Smith, Lawrence County High School science teacher, and hired Jennifer Knowlton, Hazlewood Elementary counselor.

•   Approved a $3,270 contract with OBC Floor Refinishing and Maintenance to clean, paint and finish the gym floor at R.A. Hubbard High School.

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