The Jackson County Board of Education approved a $86.1 million budget for spending in 2020-21 that will require the system to dip into its reserves.

The tentative budget, which calls for a two percent increase over last year’s budget, passed with a unanimous vote at the BOE's July 13 meeting.

The system is being cut an approximate $4.66 million dollars in state funds due to the economic slowdown brought on by COVID-19, so it will have to use $2 million from reserves during the coming year. The system ended the FY2020 fiscal year with $17.8 million in reserves.

The proposed budget asks for $35.9 million in local property taxes, up $1.71 million from 2019-20.

The tentative spending plan includes a millage rate of 18.655, which remains unchanged from last year. The final millage rate won't be set until later in the fall after the county's tax digest is determined.

SCHOLARSHIP NAMED FOR WARD

In other business, the BOE ageed tol name a scholarship award for East Jackson students in honor of former school system employee, former BOE member and community leader Margaret Ward.

Ward recently passed away at age 89. she was the first female board member on the Jackson County BOE. She served the school system for 40 years.

“If you want to talk about a true servant, that was Ms. Ward,” Jackson County superintendent April Howard said.

“She dedicated her life to students, she really, really did,” BOE chairman Lynne Wheeler added. “We will miss her and her spirit.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the BOE approved:

• the strategic waiver school system amendments for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

• teacher salary schedules, which were unchanged from last year, and a non-teaching salary schedule with minimal changes. Supplement schedules were reviewed as well.

• 2020-21 supplement schedules.

• surplus items for sale.

• a revision of graduation requirements.

• its 2020-21 training plan.

• a retirement incentive agreement for Jan NeSmith.

• the system’s Excellence and Service Award to the teaching and learning department for its efforts in making remote and distance learning available during the suspension of in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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