PERRY -- The dress code is slightly changing for middle and high school students in Houston County.
The Houston County Board of Education approved Tuesday some alterations, which allow facial hair, athletic shorts and outfits with appropriate holes or slashes. It also requires knee-length skirts or dresses be worn over leggings and excessively long shirts be tucked in.
Under the former dress rules, well-groomed mustaches were permitted, but goatees and beards were prohibited. Now the dress code states facial hair should be neat, clean and not a distraction. The old rules also banned clothing that is cut or slashed or has holes. Now the dress code simply bans clothes with holes that are excessive in size and allow skin to show.
The styles now ... Its really hard to find jeans that dont have some type of fray, said Cindy Flesher, assistant superintendent of school operations, during a Monday work session.
Some board members questioned how to determine whether a hole in a students shirt is too big or a students beard is unclean and a distraction. The dress code states principal discretion applies to all dress rules, which is important, officials said.
Weve got to trust our principals to do their jobs, Superintendent Robin Hines said during the work session.
The new dress code also allows athletic shorts to be worn. Under the old rules, mesh, nylon or athletic shorts were prohibited except in gym classes. Those shorts now can be worn in school, as long as they are knee length or longer.
If theyre knee length, they should be appropriate for school, Flesher said.
Board members also gave tentative approval to the fiscal 2014 budget, which includes total revenues of more than $286 million. The general fund revenue is about $217 million, with a reserve of nearly $22.5 million.
Unlike many area school systems, the budget does not include furloughs or layoffs.
This budget does include a full school year. ... No furloughs, no work calendar adjustments, said Stephen Thublin, assistant superintendent for finance and business operations. Its a good budget.
Still, the district will be required to pump more money into teacher retirement and health insurance plans. Also, the employees portion of health insurance premiums is expected to increase by about 10 percent, according to a district document.
The district expects to receive federal funding that recently was projected to be cut under sequestration. The district has been receiving about $2 million a year in Impact Aid, funding allocated to districts with a large population of military families. The district is expecting a 5 percent reduction in those funds next fiscal year, Thublin said.
Hines applauded the budget, saying it was made possible by paying attention to details, utilizing grants and collaborative work.
Theres not a magic pile of money we have access to that nobody else has access to, he said.
The board also approved guaranteed maximum price contracts for construction of the Langston Road elementary school and parking additions to Centerville Elementary School. The $12.8 million Langston Road school near Perry is scheduled to open August 2014. Workers also will be adding parking to Centerville Elementary School at a price of more than $319,000. That project is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 1.
To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.