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Wilson County schools get $1.6 million funding bump
Jul 19, 2005 12:00 am
July 18, 2005
More than 95 percent of Wilson Countians have already paid their property taxes, and county school officials say the influx of new monies couldn't have come at a better time.
Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan said the school system sets its annual budget based on a 95-percent payment rate. This year, however, a slightly higher payment rate has meant an additional $1.6 million for county schools.
"Nobody ever projects 100 percent, but when you're dealing with millions and millions of dollars, a 2- or 3-percent increase can be substantial in terms of what's available to the school system," he said.
Wilson County Commission's Financial Management Committee Chair Rusty Thompson explained a portion of the money also comes from the back-tax collection program.
"Our back taxes program is coming along," he said last week.
The new money, Duncan continued, will fund several projects within the school system and neary addressed every non-recurring expenditure on the school board's needs assessment list.
"We're going to use it to repair the roofs at Carroll-Oakland and W.A. Wright (elementary schools), to replace the gymnasium floors at Carroll-Oakland and Gladeville Elementary," Duncan said, noting funds would also be available to "upgrade" gymnasium floors at other county schools.
The funds will also serve as a means for reducing the number of students traveling on some county school buses by buying new buses and providing new bus routes to transport an ever-growing number of students.
"Part of that money, hopefully, will be used for a 2-percent raise for the classified personnel," Duncan said. "The state gave a 2-percent raise to the teaching personnel, but this would be for the non-teaching personnel."
The unanticipated revenues came "at a very good time," he said, adding funding for the projects might otherwise have come from the school system's debt service fund – a fund Duncan said is needed for school construction projects and repairs at existing schools.
County education and finance committee members agreed with school board's decision to dole out the one-time funds for one-time expenditures including paying cash to fix gym floors and roofs and buy new buses. They approved the non-recurring expenditures during their committee meetings Thursday.
"I thinkit it's laid out where it needed to go," District 6 Commisisoner and education committee member Wayne Drennan said last week.
Should 17 county lawmakers vote to suspend the rules during tonight's Commission meeting, county squires also will consider the school board's request to offer $1.43 million for some 55 acres off Curd Road for a new Mt. Juliet High School.
Because of the timing of the county's education and finance committee's meetings this month – both of which came before rather than after the school board's most recent meeting – Duncan said commissioners may consider the request as an "emergency" expenditure.
School officials delivered information regarding the proposal to each of the county's 25 lawmakers late last week.
Wilson County Attorney Mike Jennings said Monday may become only the third "emergency" expenditure vote that has taken place during his tenure.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.