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Lee BOE discusses budget, SPLOST IV

Lee County Board of Education members, from left, Vice Chairman Robert Clay, Chairperson Sylvia Vann and Louis Hatcher, discuss SPLOST VI capital improvement projects during a meeting of the Lee County School Board Monday evening.

Lee County Board of Education members, from left, Vice Chairman Robert Clay, Chairperson Sylvia Vann and Louis Hatcher, discuss SPLOST VI capital improvement projects during a meeting of the Lee County School Board Monday evening.

LEESBURG - Lee County School Superintendent Larry Walters gave the Lee Board of Education a quick look at the FY 2012-13 budget at a regularly scheduled board meeting Monday evening.

While the system is not anticipating any budget shortfalls in the upcoming fiscal year, the one word that could best describe Lee school finances over the next couple of years is "tight."

With the new Lee County Elementary School currently under construction at a cost of nearly $18 million, the facility is putting a major drain on the LCSS budget.

The system currently has $483,686 in funds on hand for capital projects, while two bond issues and reimbursement of special-purpose local-option sales tax funds loaned to the city of Leesburg push the funding total to $16.2 million, leaving the system nearly $1.6 million short of capital outlays for the upcoming fiscal year.

The system, however, is expecting to receive $4.3 million in funding from the state after the general assembly's current session closes Thursday and the state budget is voted upon.

That infusion of cash will give the system a $2.6 million surplus, which is right in line with the estimated costs of five capital projects on the table for SPLOST IV funding.

"We are anticipating $4.3 million in state funding, but we don't have that money today," Walters said. "We are anticipating $2.6 million available for capital outlay projects. But because of the uncertainty in regard of what we'll be getting from the state, I cannot recommend we proceed with any of the projects right now."

The five projects in the SPLOST IV hopper include:

  • $238,019 for repaving the ninth grade campus parking lot.
  • $890,268 for reworking and repaving the Bus Shop parking area.
  • $54,000 to repave the BOE parking area.
  • $1 million to install a track at Lee County High School
  • $445,171 to install tennis courts.

Board Member Louis Hatcher said his priority is a new track at the high school.

"It's pathetic that we have a 5A high school and we don't have a track -- not even a bad track," Hatcher said. "This is a basic need. We have to go out of town to run track, and I'm not happy with going to our neighbor to the south (Albany). I don't like going to Hugh Mills stadium. I feel like I have to wear a flak jacket and I know I am vastly underarmed."

Walters said LCSS's financial situation would improve after the completion of the new elementary school next year.

The superintendent lamented the fact that school system employees have not received a raise in the past three years, adding, "if we gave three percent raises it would cost up to $1.2 million in new money annually, and right now we don't have it."

Comments

DoctorDorite 2 years ago

Over a Million dollars spending in parking lot resurfacing ?? I thought times were tight, apparentley not with projects like this that could be placed on the back burner for awhile being approved, oh well, its SPLOST money so lets get busy and spend it. LOL

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JustAnotherVoice 2 years ago

what is pathetic, Louis Hatcher, is that Lee County is building a new school, wanting to spend over a million dollars on repaving multiple parking lots, considering spending a half-a-million dollar on tennis courts, a MILLION DOLLARS on a TRACK and the teachers haven't even seen a cost of living raise FOR THREE YEARS?!

WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES LCSB?!

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DoctorDorite 2 years ago

One overlooked reason teachers have'nt gotten a COLA is due to the heavy (extremley) number of personel at the central office, while classroom teachers are cut and class sizes increased they've added personel with hughmongus salaries, think I'm joking just check the their parking lot and see what type vehicles they drive. The low morale is beginning to show, just check test score results. It really does flow downhill.

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LCparent 2 years ago

Really? Let's see - One superintendent, one and a half assistant superintendents, three directors (curriculum, special education, federal programs), and one even doing two jobs (federal programs director and principal of pre-k). That's too much? Wow - try looking at the DCSS and tell me again about this.

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LCparent 2 years ago

I don't think you realize how badly this is needed. The parking lot at the 9th grade school has pavement that is cracked and is nearly 60 years old, and there is no pavement at the bus shop. This has been needed for years.

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LuLu 2 years ago

There IS (or WAS last time I was there) a track at the high school, but IIRC, it was not originally built to code, which was a stupid decision on someone's part.

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LCparent 2 years ago

JustAnotherVoice,

This is SPLOST money - that cannot be used to teacher salaries.

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whodat 2 years ago

I’m calling you out, Louis Hatcher. Here you are, a school board member—in a position of (one would expect) responsibility and respectability. Then you have the nerve to insinuate that Hugh Mills is somehow too dangerous for you to walk into. You don’t need a flak jacket, you need a chill pill. Your creeping paranoia apparently has blinded you to the fact that there is an adequate police presence at the stadium (as there is at every sporting event in all schools in the nation). If common sense and reason were weapons, then, yeah, you ARE vastly underarmed. You have denigrated Dougherty County and the DCSS and frankly, you owe them an apology.

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mr_nobody 2 years ago

An anonymous internet poster calling someone out. I find that funny.

I'm sure Mr. Hatcher is reachable, if you are really serious and would like an explanation. Fact is, his sentiment reflects the opinion of many in our area, including mine. Granted, I don't go to Hugh Mills often (don't have a reason to). But, when I'm in that part of town, I'm definitely cautious.

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Cartman 2 years ago

No one should apologize for telling the truthg. You can take that feigned over-sensitivity and sell it somewhere else. He only said what many know. I don't go to Albany after dark unless I'm packing. Not knocking Albany. It's just a fact. And he denigrated neither Albany nor the DCSS. They have done that well enough, themselves.

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MamaStrick 2 years ago

I'm calling you out, whodat. For one to speak of common sense and reason, you sure don't seem to have any yourself. I personally know former Lee County students who have had their vehicles broken into at Hugh Mills. I personally know Dougherty County residents who refuse to attend sporting events at Hugh Mills. I also personally know Louis Hatcher, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a power lifter, is not afraid of confrontation. What he is afraid of is the same thing everyone who refuses to go to Hugh Mills is afraid of. It's a dangerous neighborhood. Period. That's is a fact that no one can dispute. Albany, GA has one of the highest crime rates per capita in the US. If you'd like Louis Hatcher's contact info, let me know. He is more than willing to debate you face to face any time. No need to hide behind a gramtically incorrect screen name on a newspaper website.

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