The Houston County school district has a budget for the 2016-17 school year and two additional years with Mark Scott as superintendent.
The budget, with projected expenditures of $245 million and an ending fund balance of more than $28 million, gained final board approval at Tuesday’s regular meeting and also includes a 3-percent raise for employees.
“It means to so much to the teachers. It means so much to us board members to be able to provide that for our teachers,” Helen Hughes said while serving as chairwoman in the absence of Fred Wilson, who was away at a national school board conference.
The board also approved an amendment to the 2015-16 budget that decreased expenditures by more than $4.8 million and increased revenue by more than $3.6 million. That added to the coffers to make budgeting for the upcoming school year a little easier.
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“It’s nice to see we had an increase in revenue,” Hughes said.
The board also approved a new contract for Scott. It adds two years to his current contract — until 2019 — with an annual salary of $199,450 and an annual 3-percent performance raise and benefits. Hughes said Scott had been “exemplary” in his leadership of the district, and other board members were also glad to get the deal in place.
“This is a good day,” board member Rick Unruh said.
Scott described the district’s work as a “team effort” and said that getting a contract extension would send a message to district employees.
“We have a lot of respect for each other, and I’m really humbled that they offered me an additional two years to my contract,” he said. “It really gives the system some stability, knowing that we’re a team moving forward.”
The board also added language to its tobacco policies forbidding electronic cigarettes on campuses across the district. Visitors were also banned from tobacco and e-cigarette use on school grounds in the updated policies, which are in line with state initiatives, Scott said.
“We’re on board with that and accomplishing the state’s goal of having each school 100 percent tobacco-free,” he said.
In other business, the board approved a 2017-18 school calendar that would begin Aug. 2, 2017, and end May 23, 2018. In addition, Chris McCook was promoted to full-time principal of Warner Robins High School after serving on an interim basis.
The Houston County school board will next meet at 6 p.m. July 18 for its work session, followed by a regular meeting at 1 p.m. July 19.
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