The Bryan County Board of Education held a called meeting to discuss the 2008 budget prior to its Feb. 22 regular meeting at Lanier Primary School.
Unlike municipal and county budgets, which start in January, the BoE budget takes effect in July. The called meeting enabled BoE members to go over the budget preparation timeline set by BoE Finance Director Melanie James and to receive an update on capital outlay.
"Because some projects were not on the list yet, we wanted to discuss all the projects that are on the table to see where we are financially," said School Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer.
Brewer indicated that 85 percent of the BoE budget can be attributed to salaries and benefits for 854 employees in the Bryan County school system.
In her reports, James broke down the expenditures into three categories: projects completed, projects under contract and projects in the planning stages. The funds for these projects are financed via SPLOST II and local capital reserve. These projects, totaling more than $50.6 million, are not strictly financially tied to the 2008 fiscal year, but are all the projects currently on the table for the system.
Among the projects completed are a new parking lot and canopy for Lanier Primary, wing renovations for Richmond Hill and Bryan County Elementary Schools, classroom additions for both middle schools, track, tennis, baseball and parking lot projects for Bryan County High School, football, track, tennis and classroom addition projects for Richmond Hill High School, plus a variety of general equipment purchases for the system.
Among the projects currently under contract are the $14 million Richmond Hill Elementary School project, renovation of the Black Creek facility for administrative purposes, air conditioners in both high school gymnasiums, and $4.4 million in bond payments.
Among the projects in the planning stages are $5 million for a replacement middle school, $1.5 million classroom additions for both Richmond Hill Primary and Carver Elementary, land acquisition and preparation, enhancement of the Richmond Hill Middle athletic field, and the BCHS greenhouse project.
During the regular meeting, several contest award winners were announced.
The Bryan County Middle School Stock Market Game winners were announced. The contest entailed competitively trading stock on the internet with fellow students. The winning team is Allison Collins, Jalisa Jackson, Victoria Williams, Sabrina Pope and Courtland. Also recognized was the second place team of Chris Morgan, Dashon Dixon and Dustin Harrison.
BoE Chairman Eddie Warren jokingly said: "Isn’t it funny that the first place team is all girls with the boys coming in second, and it had to do with money."
The Farm Bureau Essay Contest winners for the middle school level and art contest for the high school level were announced. The art winners were Christina Anderson from BCHS, first place; Lauren Carter from BCHS, second place; and Amanda Wilson from RHHS, third place. The essay winners were Amanda Dozier from BCMS, first place; Katlyn Taylor from RHMS, second place; and Jessica Denius from RHMS, third place.
In recognition of the upcoming state School Board Appreciation Week, Lanier Primary student Samantha Boyd issued gift baskets to the board members. The official date of the holiday is March 12-16.
Board member Mary Warnell, who is the designated legislative liaison for the board, brought attention to "two hot bills" that have just passed from the senate to the house. She urged the board members, if they so wish, to voice their opinion on the matters while they still can.
The bills include one that would allot $9,000 vouchers to special education students to leave public school and go to a private entity. The other bill involved the chartering of schools.