Houston BOE approves $286 million budget

jmink@macon.comJune 27, 2013 

PERRY -- The Houston County Board of Education approved Thursday its fiscal 2014 budget, with total revenues of more than $286 million.

With a reserve of more than $22 million, the budget does not include furloughs or layoffs. It does include a full school year for employees -- unlike many school systems in the area and throughout the state.

“It is a good budget,” Stephen Thublin, assistant superintendent for finance and business operations, said during a previous meeting.

The budget also includes federal funds, which were projected to be sliced under federal sequestration cuts. Earlier this year, officials were bracing for complete cuts to the Impact Aid program, which has been pumping about $2 million a year into the school system. The program allocates funds to districts with high populations of military families.

Now, officials are expecting those funds to continue this coming fiscal year, which begins Monday, albeit at an estimated 5 percent reduction.

The district also will be required to pump more money into faculty retirement and health insurance plans. Additionally, the employees’ portion of health insurance premiums is expected to increase by an estimated 10 percent.

In addition to approving the budget, board members also approved an $8.8 million guaranteed maximum price contract for renovation of the current Linwood Elementary School, which will become the new Pearl Stephens Elementary School.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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