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More expenses coming to school budget
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At least one county commissioner wants the Warren County School Board to reconsider purchasing land adjacent to Irving College School.
“I know we talked about the property,” said Commissioner Scott Rubley during Monday night’s Education Committee meeting to Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “Are we completely out?”
The 10-acre tract the school system considered purchasing last year is owned by Dwhite Woodlee. It would have been used as an alternate entrance into the school and provided a chance for other septic fields. The price quoted was $25,000 an acre, or $250,000.
Cox says the septic system will fit on the existing property.
“The biggest issue is will the septic system work on the property and every report I get is yes it will fit,” said Cox. “Would it make the project flow easier if we had the property? Yes, it would.”
Safety is an issue, says Rubley, because access to Highway 56 would allow a new entrance to the backside of the school and caution lights on the highway.
“We are looking at it from a safety standpoint,” he said. “We would be taking pressure off those crossroads. I hate to be negative, but it’s only a matter of time. There are wrecks there continually and it’s usually during school hours. I talked to (state Sen.) Janice Bowling and she said if we had an entrance to Highway 56, we could get some caution lights up there.”
Rubley says the school system should attempt to negotiate the price down to something more in-line with what has been paid to other property owners in the past.
According to Cox, the school system paid $13,388 per acre in Dibrell and acquired 31 acres, and it paid $15,300 per acre and acquired 27 acres in Morrison.
Cox informed committee members of some pending expenses the school system is going to incur in the near future:
“This year, in the governor’s budget, there is a 4 percent raise for teacher,” said Cox. “That 4 percent is going to cost us somewhere around $840,000. We will only get about $700,000 of that and the rest we have to pay. The board wants to do something for our classified personnel in the same fashion, so that would be a 4 percent raise for them and we will have to find the funds to do that.”
“The Healthcare Act,” said Cox. “We had to adjust our insurance rate which upped our percentage that we will have to pay. A conservative estimate is another $100,000. When open enrollment hits, I think more employees will enroll in our insurance. The more that enroll, the more we have to pay for our portion.
Additional SROs:
“We took on the SROs this year,” said Cox. “We hired three of the six we are going to hire. That will be in our budget this year. That will be $274,400 more than what it was last year. That will come out of our fund balance.”
Keeping school programs the governor cut funding to:
“There is $57,000 that is not in the governor’s budget for extended contract,” said Cox. “Unless we have the money, all our tutorial programs that we have before and after school just got wiped out.”
The meeting ended with Cox agreeing to discuss the purchase of the land with School Board members.