Murray schools wrestle budget


The Murray County Board of Education on Monday  unanimously passed a spending resolution for FY 2021. The resolution will allow the school system to continue spending money, though it has yet to pass a budget for the coming school year.

Under Georgia law, school systems are supposed to have budgets prepared by June 30. However, the COVID virus has delayed the Georgia Legislature from completing its budget work, which means school officials statewide don’t know how much money they will be receiving from the state.

The General Assembly is expected to reconvene on June 11.

County schools Superintentdent Steve Loughridge told the board on Monday he expects a decrease in state funding of $5 million to $6 million, based on Gov. Brian Kemp’s call for an 11 percent across-the-board spending reduction by all state agencies. Education is the state’s most expensive program.

“We need to wait until we get more information from the state legislature,” Loughridge said.

School officials have for weeks been looking for ways to trim the budget.

Loughridge said teacher furlough days are being considered, but no determination has been made.

“If we can find other things to cut, we will,” said board member Sparky Roberts. “We want to avoid any furlough days at all if we can.”

“Our teachers are the most important part of this puzzle,” Roberts added. “We need to take care of them.”

Loughridge said seven positions have been eliminated for the coming school year, though some could be added back if and when revenues rebound.

Loughridge said the board members had viewed about 60 percent of the proposed budget and would continue to look over the spending plan next month. 

During the meeting on Monday, board members:

* Approved a contract with the Family Support Council to continue serving as that group’s fiscal agent.

* Approved a contract covering transportation costs for a deaf student.

* Approved the overnight field trip schedule for the entire year for the Career, Technical, and Agricultural (CTAE) program.

* Approved the school nutrition budget for the year.

* Approved the CTAE budget for the year.

Loughridge told board members that SPLOST collections were down slightly in April but overall the 1 percent sales tax designed to help fund education was more than $1.7 million dollars ahead of projections for the fiscal year.   

Tax collections statewide have taken a major hit in recent months as the impact of the coronavirus on Georgia’s economy has hit hard.




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