The Thomaston-Upson School System Board of Education received some good financial news at its meeting on September 8, with the FY2014-15 budget using less of the Fund Balance and with the third ESPLOST collecting more than anticipated.
The unaudited figures for the end of the FY2014-15 budget, which ended June 30, showed that while revenues were down $189,000 for the fiscal year, expenditures were also down by $730,000.
Kathy Matthews, Finance Director for the school system, noted that the reduction in expenditures meant the system had to go into its Fund Balance less than anticipated to cover the difference between revenues and expenditures.
For the year, we had budgeted going into Fund Balance $1.2 million,” she said, “however, we only used $764,000 of the Fund Balance.”
Matthews also had good news in regards to the 2011-2015 ESPLOST, which also ended June 30.
“This SPLOST, the referendum was for $14.7 million, “Matthews told the BOE, “and we collected $15.5 million, which was an excess of $816,000.”
Under Georgia law, excess ESPLOST funds must be used to first pay debt off. Since the school system doesn’t have any debt, the funds can be used to help finish up some of the other ESPLOST projects that weren’t completed.
In other business, Board member Terrell Jackson questioned whether teachers are getting enough planning time during the school days. Jackson’s question came during a presentation by Dr. Larry Derico, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, on the school system’s strategic plan.
Dr. Derico said after discussion, the system has added a Professional Learning Plan to the strategic plan. He said the PLP adds four goals to the plan: Public Behavioral Intervention and Support, Response to Intervention, Data Analysis, and New Teacher Induction.
Dr. Derico briefly explained each of the goals. While he was explaining New Teacher Induction, which is based on giving new teachers in the system more support, Jackson questioned whether teachers at South Elementary and North Elementary were getting the staff development assistance they need.
“With the new team concept that they have, they should be light years ahead of where they were 10 years ago,” Jackson said. “I thought each department met weekly at every school. I’m hearing a lot of concern from parents about the primary and elementary students and teachers, about the progress of the school. I understand in some cases that they are not having weekly meetings.”
Dr. Derico replied that there are individual planning days for teachers, and also designated days where they have to meet with their teams. He assured Jackson that he would check into it to be sure the teams are meeting on a weekly basis. Derico added that the New Teacher Induction is in addition to what they already have.
“For the new teachers who are first year teachers, this is above and beyond what is going on at the schools,” Derico said. “This is just additional support for that teacher, to make sure that teacher is successful. So they are getting extra support. In addition to what should be going as far as weekly planning at the schools right now, this is in addition to it. We just wanted to make sure they had that added support.”
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.