D19 plans to add to fund balance after cuts

After depleting its fund balance in recent years, Barnwell District 19 is projecting it will actually add $20,000 to it next school year.
That was the news during the final reading of the budget June 23.
While additional state funding has helped the district get to that point, they have also cut expenses. This includes not filling some vacant positions and filling others with people paid at a lower salary level, said Superintendent Dr. Teresa Pope. This includes the two new guidance counselors who will be paid around $20,000 less than their predecessors, according to budget documents.
These measures helped the district get rid of a $46,139 deficit shown in the budget's second reading. On top of this, the district is projecting it will add $20,622 to its fund balance, which they had to take $240,607 from to balance last year's budget.
On the other hand, some expenses increased, including the salary for the new high school principal. Board member Carroll Priester questioned why Sterling Harris, who was hired earlier in the month, would be paid $1,305 more than David Norman. Pope said Harris will earn his doctorate degree in December.
The board approved the $5,856,408 budget, though Priester and fellow board member Ethel Faust abstained from voting. The budget is approximately $100,000 less than the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
On a separate financial note, the board unanimously approved a tax anticipation note - or TAN - of up to $500,000. The TAN allows the district to receive a portion of its tax revenue early, which they will have to repay with interest.
Pope said it will help the district "make sure we start the year with enough to operate."
District 19 Finance Director Rebecca Grubbs said the TAN amount is enough to pay for two pay periods worth of salaries - or one month. The TAN is similar to the one the district was issued last year.
The district has to start repaying the TAN in January 2015, Grubbs said.
In other news:
The board approved the federally funded Title 1 budget. The federal funds are given to schools with a high percentage of students from low-income homes in the hopes of improving academic achievement.
The district's allocation of $582,710 pays for several teachers' salaries, part of the technology coach's salary, the salary of the aide of the Compass Learning computer lab, a student behavioral interventionist, and a program for three-year-old kindergarteners, according to the Title 1 budget.
Following a closed session, the board approved the resignations of the elementary school guidance counselor, high school master TAP teacher, and elementary school physical education teacher.
They also approved the hiring of Melissa Peebles as the new high school master TAP teacher, Tamisha Wiggins as the guidance counselor, Melissa Steiner as a high school social studies teacher, and Johneethia Williams as the elementary school art teacher.
The board approved the athletic student handbook.