EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story in correctly identified Anderson County Commissioner Josh Anderson as a member of the county’s Budget Committee. Anderson is not a member of that panel. We regret any confusion the error may have caused.
After the Anderson County Budget Committee rejected the school system’s request for $821,000 to balance its budget for the coming fiscal year, the School Board will meet Thursday, May 16th at 6 pm to continue their discussion from last week.
The Budget Committee last Thursday rejected the school system’s request for the equivalent of five cents on the tax rate in new money to make up the shortfall while also giving employees pay raises and addressing capital project needs like a leaky roof at Andersonville Elementary School and several others.
According to the Clinton Courier News, some of the suggestions bandied about by School Board members to find ways to cut a budget already described as “bare-bones” included possibly closing one of the system’s smaller elementary schools, or cutting programs like art and music. The paper reports that others suggested using money from the undesignated fund balance to make up the shortfall.
It was noted during the meeting that three years ago, the Anderson County Commission had agreed to pay a total of $1.2 million over a three-year period to pay for the schools’ 1:1 technology initiative that provides Chrome Books to students, but only paid for one year due to their own budget constraints. That resulted in the school system having to use $800,000 from its capital outlay fund to pay for the program.
First-term County Commissioner Josh Anderson said on Facebook last week that he could propose using $810,000 from the county’s undesignated fund balance, which currently sits at over $4 million, “to pay the school system what we said we would pay for the chrome books.” He says that he would like to help out the school system without any further tax increases. Anderson wrote that “[g]oing below the 4 million dollar mark in the unassigned fund balance requires a 2/3 vote from county commission, but I hope the fact that we are projected to be turning some additional funds back into the general fund during the next fiscal year will allow us to get back over 4 million relatively quickly.”
The School Board will resume its May meeting on Thursday, May 16th at 6 pm. Members are expected to hear an alternate budget proposal from School Superintendent Dr. Tim Parrott. Thursday’s meeting will be televised on ACTV, Comcast Cable channel 95 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99, in Anderson County.