By Marla Ogletree

The Charlton County Board of Education held a called meeting Tuesday, July 14 to discuss the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Superintendent Dr. John Lairsey shared with the board there was a reduction in state funding of over $700,000.00. Most counties’ digests have gone up this year; however, the digest for Charlton decreased, making the county eligible for higher equalization funds. The school system will receive approximately $500,000.00 from the state, making the discrepancy only $200,000.00 instead of the $700,000.00. 

Dr. Lairsey stated the board has a proposed budget of $17,923,424.00, which has changed a few times over the last few weeks. The total is down almost one million dollars since last year due to state reductions. Dr. Lairsey also stated tax revenues have been better than he thought, and he was able to add items back to the budget that were initially cut. The board does not have a digest yet but when it is received, will show the board to be in good shape. The school system also has a good fund balance, which will help should there be harder times. 

Dr. Lairsey stated there were changes to the state budget, which allowed Governor Brian Kemp to allot more funding for education. This has allowed the school board to continue to operate and not furlough teachers as of yet. He reminded board members to keep in mind the FY22 budget may not be the same as FY21, as the next year might be tougher. He also shared the E-SPLOST payments have been holding steady as more citizens are shopping locally. The last check received totaled approximately $109,000.00.

The board unanimously approved the updated list of waivers from the state. Dr. Lairsey stated the new waivers give flexibility for the school system unlike ever before.

The board also voted to approve the usage of the parking lot at Champ Bailey Field for McKinney Medical Center. The medical group will offer free COVID-19 tests.

Board members approved the hiring of Jasmine Williams as secretary at Folkston Elementary School (FES) and the resignation of Joanna Reid and Jenna Johnson, both first grade teachers at FES.