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Lee County BOE approves $59 million FY2014 school budget

From left, Lee County School Board members Claire Lang, Sylvia Vann and Frank Griffin look over the district’s $59 million fiscal year 2014 budget Monday evening before approving it on a 4-1 vote.

From left, Lee County School Board members Claire Lang, Sylvia Vann and Frank Griffin look over the district’s $59 million fiscal year 2014 budget Monday evening before approving it on a 4-1 vote.

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Lee County Board of Education on Monday voted 4-1 to approve a $59 million fiscal year 2014 school budget which may raise taxes by 2.5 mills but reduces teacher furloughs from six to four days.

Assistant Superintendent Business and Financial Services Gary Kelley stresses that the millage rate increase, from 15 to 17.5 mills, is tentative and will depend on the figures revealed when the system receives the county's tax digest numbers.

Board members Claire Lang, Sylvia Vann, Louis Hatcher and Frank Griffin voted to approve the budget, Robert Clay voted against.

"Our school system is the crown jewel of Lee County, that's why I moved here," Hatcher said. "We need better funding from the state, and as distasteful as it is to raise the millage rate, we have little choice if we want to maintain the quality of our school system.

"I'd rather spend $25,000 for educated students rather than spending the money to incarcerate them."

Board Chair Sylvia Vann made the motion to add .5 mills to the original proposed 2 mills hike to add two more classroom days for students to bring the system up to 180 full teaching days.

In other discussion, Superintendent Larry Walters said the new elementary school on Lovers Lane Road is scheduled to undergo its final inspection on July 24 and a certificate of occupancy will be issued.

Walters said he was confident the new elementary school would be ready for students when Lee schools open their doors on Aug. 9