Dougherty Co. School Board looks at increases for 2019 budget

Dougherty Co. School Board looks at increases for 2019 budget
The school board held two public forums to ask for community input on the proposed 2019 fiscal year budget. (Source: WALB)
William Wright, resident (Source: WALB)
William Wright, resident (Source: WALB)
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer speaks about upcoming budget. (Source: WALB)
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer speaks about upcoming budget. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County Board of Education said there will be no increase in property tax from the school system, even though there was an increase in its budget for 2019.

The school board held two public forums on Monday to ask for community input on the proposed 2019 fiscal year budget.

Employee health care costs have increased from last year as well as a four percent increase in teacher retirement.

Another big increase was on communication and technology.

Only one resident came forward to speak at Monday's evening forum.

William Wright said there is always room for improvement and wanted to lay out options for the school board to keep spending local.

"We've spent about $53 million on contractors and we're asking the board if they will take a look at what can we do to make sure local contractors benefit from this, collateral benefit, because right now a tremendous amount of dollars do not stay in Dougherty County," said Wright.

On June 11 the board will decide to adopt or make changes to the budget.

Students and staff will be able to see the changes beginning this fall when the school year begins.

Another item announced was that new safety improvement funds are being granted to each school district by the state board of education to protect their students and faculty.

Each school district will receive a base amount of $25,000 to use for safety improvements.

The remaining $11.5 million is allocated on a prorated basis according to each district's student enrollment and staffing.

Dougherty County will be receiving a little more than $120,000 in total from the state.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer said they will use their part of the fund to enhance security measures.

"We're looking at expanding our use of security cameras and other equipment as safety is our primary focus in terms of keeping our schools and students safe," said Dyer.

Dougherty County continues to make improvements to ensure students safety.

On Tuesday they will be holding an active shooter tabletop exercise with law enforcement and public safety officials.

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