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Growing system are big winners

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January 29, 2004

Albany- The Dougherty County School System has more students this year.

Especially in the high schools. Having more kids in the classroom will give the system a financial boost.

"We know we're getting more money, and part of that grant money in here that they're indicating is that we're going to get more money because we've got more students," said Robert Lloyd, the system's finance director.

The system grew by more than 200 students this year. That's only the second time in the last nine years that there's been an increase in enrollment. Numbers released from the state show that Dougherty County was going to face more than $4.2 million in cuts.

But because of higher enrollment, the proposed teacher pay raise, and equalization funds, the system may come out more than one million dollars ahead. Under the spending proposal, only 57 of the state's 180 school systems would net more money from the state.

Lloyd says a couple of factors that show local financial struggles mean more money from the state.

"The fact that we've put our millage rate up is one factor," he said. "And it's been multiplied by the fact that our tax base has gone down."

Other South Georgia systems haven't been so lucky. Lee County may still see cuts of more than $100,000. Worth County may see more than $700,000 in cuts and Lowndes County may see cuts of more than $1 million.

The numbers are not final. But Dougherty County officials are just glad to see that attracting more students is paying off.

posted at 10:05 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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