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Budget outlook improves for school system
BOE goes over figures for 2015
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Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY — The Forsyth County Board of Education will receive a proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 this week.

But based on the preliminary figures board members reviewed during a work session Thursday, the economic outlook is improving.

Dan Jones, the school system’s chief financial officer, told the board that local tax revenue is up about $7.5 million, or an increase of nearly 6 percent over last year, for a total of about $136.5 million.

In addition, Jones said state revenue has risen by about 12 percent over last year, for a total of $164.8 million.

He attributed part of the change to economic growth, though about $6 million of the state figure was from declining austerity adjustments.

He also noted that the county has yet to finalize its tax digest, so the numbers are subject to change.

Between state and local channels of funding, the 2015 budget is projected to total about $276.7 million, or about 7 percent over the current year’s budget of nearly $257.9 million.

Part of the proposed increase in expenditures will go toward hiring new teachers, bus drivers and other staff members, according to Jones.

It also will go toward adding step increases, as well as three instructional days back to the calendar for all employees.

Jones noted that health care benefits, which were expected to rise in cost, likely will hold steady.

The board was encouraged by the outlook, though Jones noted the district is “still not where we were back in 2008” before the economic downturn.

During Thursday’s work session, the board also approved the employee work calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

The calendar includes between 180 and 240 work days for the year for all employees. That’s three more days than the current school year.