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Newton County BOE approves millage rate, tentative budget
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COVINGTON, Ga. — The millage rate for Newton County Schools’ fiscal year of 2021 will remain at 19.788.

The board of education met Tuesday night and approved the rate. Though the rate was not changed, the public should expect to see a property tax increase due to the increased value of homes across Newton County, officials said. 

The projected total gross revenue generated from the current tax digest of $3,032,654,860 is more than $60 million. After accounting for Local Fair Share, the net revenue will be $44.8 million.

The board also approved a tentative budget of approximately $294 million for FY2021, which matches their total anticipated revenue from local, state and federal sources. 

The general fund part of the budget totaled $219,182,665. Anticipated revenue from property taxes and other local sources totaled $60,704,622 for the general fund. State and local revenues were projected to be $116,788,417. The beginning balance for the general fund is $41,689,626.

General fund expenditures anticipated by the board for FY2021 total $191,233,025.

Total expenditures and reserve for other funds in the budget include:

Special Revenue Funds — $17,172,905

Capital Project Funds — $14,010,904

Debt Service Funds — $22,989,583

School Food Service Fund — $11,592,195

School Principal Accounts —$3,900,000

After School Program — $ 980,000

Other State Grants — $4,608,428

The board will vote to adopt the school system’s final budget Aug. 18. (Editor's note: A copy of the tentative budget can be viewed at the end of this article.)

In other business, the board:

• Approved a spending resolution for August 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state legislature suspended its 2020 session on March 12, so preliminary funding numbers could not be provided to the school system before the suspension of the legislative session. Without that information, Newton County Schools couldn’t properly prepare a FY2021 budget for board approval by June 30, in accordance with O.C.G.A 20-2-167 (a)(5), officials said. Therefore, the board was required to adopt a spending resolution for each month of fiscal year 2021 until the board adopts a budget.

• Approved the 2021 Newton County Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Program Improvement Local Plan.

• Approved the purchase of IOWA assessments for use in grades 1-8 for the purpose of “measuring student performance relative to criterion and norm referenced standards” in the amount of $293,500. The assessments will be administered September.

• Approved the annual renewable contract for internet content filter software be awarded to Family Zone Inc, of San Diego, Calif., in the amount of $44,321.66, as recommended by the superintendent. The is in effect July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

• Approved renewal of the following annual contracts:

  1. Instructure (Canvas Learning Management System); total cost is $77,681.31
  2. Byteworks (Maintenance Agreement for Cisco Infrastructure); total cost is $51,274.48
  3. FileWave (Technology Asset Management Software); total cost is $67,209.84
  4. Bridgetek Solutions (Network and Email Security Software); total cost is $75,525.28

• Approved the purchase of 4,673 Chromebooks, 153 laptop computers and other accessories from Dell Marketing L.P. of Round Rock, Texas, in the amount of $1,797,297.18. The equipment will be funded by CARES Act Funds, Title I Part A school allocations and the FY2021 General Fund.

• Approved the purchase of laptop carts from CDW●G of Vernon Hills, Ill., in the amount of $47,595.

• Approved the purchase of technology needed for the non-public schools from Dell Marketing L.P. of Round Rock, Texas, in the amount of $61,065. Seven Chromebook 11 3100 devices were purchased for Guardian Christian Academy. One hundred seventy Chromebook 11 3100 devices were purchased for Peachtree Academy. The CARES Act provides funding for schools to help them respond to, and recover from, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but the funds cannot go directly to non-public schools, according to information provided by the school system. Instead, public school systems function as Lead Educational Agencies (LEA) where the funds are administered to eligible private schools who request said funds for purchases approved in the legislation.

• Approved renewal of the following annual contracts:

  1. Ozburn Electrical Contractors, Inc. (Electrical Services); estimated contract value is $125,000.
  2. Air Conditioning Specialist, Inc. (HVAC Services); estimated contract value is $450,000.

• Approved the annual renewable contract with the Newton County Board of Commissioners and the Newton County Sheriff's Office for school resources officers for an additional contract term, effective date will be July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, in the amount of $1,099,575.30.

• Declared items identified by the superintendent as surplus property.

• Approved the completion of the Local Board Governance Annual Report as required by the Georgia Department of Education.

• Approved personnel matters discussed in a previous executive session. 

• Approved the purchase of milk and ice cream needed for the school system from Mayfield Dairy Farms LLC of Athens, Tenn., in the amount of $600,000 for milk and $35,000 for ice cream.

• Approved the extension of Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey’s contract through June 30, 2023.

Tentative Newton County Schools System FY2021 Budget