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Budget gets initial OK
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County Board of Education is one step closer to finalizing its proposed budget for the upcoming school year.

During a meeting Thursday night, the five-member board voted unanimously to give tentative approval to the nearly $269 million budget. The final blessing could come next month.

The budget is over by nearly $5.2 million and shows a 2 percent drop in instructional spending, which makes up nearly 72 percent of the system’s operating budget.

Staff members have cut nearly $1.8 million from the school system’s proposed budget.

Finance Director Dan Jones has previously noted that the proposed budget does not reflect the county’s current tax digest, which is used to determine revenue from property taxes.

It was drawn up with an estimated 5 percent reduction in the digest, which officials have said is conservative.

If the actual digest figures doesn’t cover the balance, possible options could include more cuts or to pull the difference from reserves.

The proposed budget does not call for raising the millage rate, the formula by which property taxes are calculated. The current rate is about 15.4 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value.

On Thursday, Jones said minor adjustments have been made to the proposed budget, such as eliminating unfilled transportation positions and trimming about $6,000 from each board member’s pay.

Also Thursday, the school board voted 5-0 agreed to change the name of the Piedmont Learning Center facility on Dahlonega Highway to the Forsyth Academy.

The Piedmont program, which offers alternative education opportunities, was renamed Gateway Academy. This program will be housed in the Forsyth Academy building along with the Forsyth Academy Charter School and the Academy at Night.

The Forsyth Academy and the Academy at Night will relocate over the summer from the local campus of Lanier Technical College.

E-mail Julie Arrington at juliearrington@forsythnews.com.