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School system tentatively approves budget with no tax increase

Property owners can begin the celebration.

The McDuffie County Board of Education tentatively approved a budget for the 2006 fiscal year at the May 12 meeting.

And despite a continuation of state funding problems, there will be no property tax increase.

BOE Chairman Jerry Randolph said that was certainly good news for the people of McDuffie County.

"I think the superintendent has done an outstanding job, along with (Comptroller) Mr. Tom Smalley," Mr. Randolph said. "They've done an outstanding job of making sure that we stay within our budget. In fact we've spent less than we budgeted last year, so when you do that you don't have to go up."

The $30 million budget is one that was balanced this year in spite of the state government's cumulative $2.2 million austerity reductions over the past three years. The cuts were not deepened again this year, but they were not returned to past levels either.

"The last three years, including this year, we have had to cut as far as number of positions, and we have had to cut as far as other things that are non-salary because of that $2.2 million dollars," said school system Comptroller Tom Smalley.

Even though the state funding wasn't raised, the new budget is slightly more than last year's. The 2006 budget is $846,757 more than the 2005 budget which represents a 3.1 percent increase. That increase is a conservative one, according to school officials.

To get the numbers that low, Superintendent of Schools Mark Petersen made additional cuts of $500,000 in the budget requests he received from all of the departments this year, Mr. Smalley said.

"We've had to have a mighty sharp pencil to work on this," he added. "We're trying to save money in every area we can."

After advertising the tentative budget, the BOE is scheduled to give its formal approval during the June 9 meeting.



Web posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005











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