HC School Board faces budget review

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 05:48 PM.

BONIFAY - A public hearing but with no public, the Holmes County District School Board waited several minutes before starting their public hearing and special session on July 29 to approve tentative millage rates for the fiscal year 2014-2015 and adopt the tentative budget.

With a budget review that started focusing on 1988 and working through to 2014, Hawkins took the school board members through the budget, pointing out significant factors including four years of stimulus funding, personnel changes and facility expenses, stating that this is the first year "with our nose above water" but never fully recovered from the economic downturn in 2008.

Hawkins focused on the changes impacted by the stimulus funding between 2010 and 2013, stating that the personnel/revenue percentages would have remained consistent if it wasn't for the added cushion provided by the stimulus funding. He showed where it remained consistent as the stimulus funding was reduced to nothing, which was this year.

He added there were increases in personnel salaries and benefits as well as added expenses in facility repairs, which included the continual debt to the Honey Well Project.

The Honey Well Project was started in 2006 and was a project focusing on providing air conditioning for all of the schools' gyms at once and Hawkins informed the board that the county only has two more payments before the debt was cleared, which will add much needed relief to the county, according to Superintendent Eddie Dixon.

"We've saved some on the costs for some of the repairs," said Chair Rusty Williams. "I'd like to see the paperwork of those savings by the next school board meeting."

Hawkins also explained that in order to stay above the three percent mark the school board had to draw from contingency. School Board member Debbie Kolmetz asked for him to explain how that was possible if those funds were to establish the "good faith" required by state to help fund the new middle and elementary school for Bonifay.

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