Both local school systems are in the midsummer holding pattern of the budget process, when the annual budget schedule is about to run into the new fiscal year but final numbers are still pending to draft a new budget for the next school year.
With that in mind, both the Walton County and the Social Circle boards of education, each holding its monthly meeting this week, drafted spending resolutions to continue paying salaries and required bills at the current rate until a new budget can be approved later this summer.
Each school system had other work to handle on its agenda, though.
The Walton County School District is starting construction on a new addition to Bay Creek Elementary, which the board approved unanimously at its in-person Tuesday night meeting. The board also voted on Superintendent Nathan Franklin’s contract, opting to extend the three-year deal for another year at the current terms.
Social Circle City Schools also had a few things on its agenda, as the board met via the digital Zoom platform to discuss several matters Thursday.
The board opted to increase its out-of-district tuition for the coming school year. Based on the average cost of education an individual student, the system approved a new tuition rate of $3,148.98, an increase of $61.98 over last year.
Superintendent Robbie Hooker took the meeting as a chance to address several matters, as well.
One was the beginning of the coming school year, as school districts across the state consider how to handle educating students while COVID-19 remains an ongoing concern.
“Currently, if we went back to school today, we would be classified under a low-spread formula,” Hooker said, saying statewide case numbers are currently lower than the proposed safety threshold. “We could resume school normally.”
If cases rise, however, social distancing efforts might need to be implemented, or the school district may have to start the school year using distance learning once more, all depending on coronavirus numbers.
“We plan to announce plans in July on how we will return to school,” Hooker said.
When school does resume, Hooker said the district would have to address current issues with students.
“Since we last saw our students, there have been many social changes,” Hooker said. “There has been a lot of unrest in the country. Like it or not, this affects our children. When we return, we will have to address issues on the pandemic and social unrest. We as a school system will be up to the challenge of discussing these issues.”