By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
BoE readies FY 25 budget of close to $145 million

Liberty County Board of Education members have a fiscal year 2025 budget in front of them that includes pay raises and funding toward expanding middle school sports.

The FY25 budget, at $144.9 million, is a $5.6 million increase in spending from the current budget, which expires June 30, and plans for an increase in $9.6 million in revenue from FY 24.

The budget is fully funded and does not contain any austerity cuts, chief financial officer Stephanie Clark said.

State funds account for 67% of the school system’s budget, about $96.2 million. There is an increase of $14.47 million in state Quality Basic Education funding this year. Local sources, such as property taxes, account for 20% of the revenue, or about $29.4 million. Federal sources make up about $17.6 million of the school system’s total revenue, or about 12%.

QBE funds can go toward special education, training, salaries and benefits for teachers, paraprofessionals for kindergarten only, and teachers in special areas such as art, music, foreign language, counselors, textbooks, travel and equipment replacement. QBE does not provide funding for Social Security, athletics and other extracurricular activities.

QBE is based on school counts taken twice a year, and this year it was based on a full-time equivalency of 10,397 students, Clark said.

Included in the budget are $2,500 increases in base pay for personnel paid on certificates and $2,500 increases in base pay for directors and above positions. There is also a 4.1% increase in base pay for classified positions.

Also included in the budget are retention incentives and start-up funding for expanding middle school sports programs.

Among the projected expenditures, 59.76% are directed toward instruction, or a cost of about $86.75 million. Maintenance and operations costs are at $10 million, with pupil services at $9 million next, followed by school administration at $8.6 million. School nutrition is expected to come in at a cost of $8.2 million, and school transportation costs are expected to be $7.7 million.

The school system pays for all students to be bused to school. State QBE funding, Clark pointed out, can be used only for those who live outside 1.5-mile radius from their school.

School nutrition is expected to bring in $53,000 more than it spends this year.

The school system’s education- special purpose local option sales tax can be used for funding on buildings and technology, such as replacing the HVAC systems at schools, but it cannot go toward salaries or benefits of school system personnel.

A proposed capital projects budget of nearly $7.6 million, separate from the $144.9 million general fund plan, includes $1.5 million each for a HVAC upgrade at Waldo Pafford Elementary and the first phase of refreshing student devices across the elementary schools. A second payment of more than $930,000 is included for middle and high school Chromebooks, and there is a $1 million line item for new language and social studies textbooks across all grades. Taylors Creek Elementary is expected to get a $650,000 upgrade for its HVAC system, and new digital security cameras at all schools is pegged at $300,000. Another $400,000 is being directed toward buying new buses and service vehicles. All elementary schools are proposed to get new playground equipment and new gym floors at Button Gwinnett and Joseph Martin and baseball and softball fields at Snelson- Golden and Midway Middle also are part of the proposed capital projects budget for FY25.

Final adoption for the FY25 budget is set for June 11.

Sign up for our e-newsletters