Madison County school officials are waiting to see what comes from Atlanta in terms of budgeting for next school year, and end-of-course testing weights for this year.

“I’m curious to see what the revenues will be for next year,” said Madison County School Superintendent Michael Williams, noting that the school system faced an over $3 million revenue hit from the state for this school year. “I’m hoping legislators will fully fund us.”

The Georgia General Assembly will convene in January with school funding on many minds.

In a separate matter, the weight given to end-of-course tests for 2020-21 remains up in the air. State school superintendent Richard Woods proposed that the tests count for only .01 percent of students’ grade weight, down from the normal 20 percent, due to the pandemic. But the state school board voted for a 10-percent grade weight. However, the state has received public comment indicating that 86 percent of respondents prefer Woods’ proposal. The school board will decide the matter this month.

In other matters at the county school board meeting Dec. 8, the board heard from assistant superintendent Mandy Wommack, who reported that the system received $222,539 in sales tax revenue in November, slightly higher than in October.

ABM has started bleacher, press box and scoreboard work at the high school, while air conditioning units have been ordered for elementary school gyms, which should take three-to-four days to install.

Assistant superintendent Jody Goodroe said more students are moving back to in-person school from virtual classes. There are 120 K-5 students projected to attend school virtually in January, compared to 400 in August. Likewise, 85 students are expected to attend the middle school virtually, compared to 200 in August, with 120 virtual students expected at the high school for the second semester, down from 220 at the start of school.

Cynthia Fortson addressed the school board last week, asking the group to promote mask wearing with the students. She said she sees mask wearing as a civic duty.

The group approved a loan, if necessary, to cover payroll in December if revenues didn’t come in fast enough to get checks out to employees before Christmas instead of the end of the month. But Williams later said the Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) wasn’t needed. He praised county tax commissioner Lamar Dalton for his work in getting revenues to local agencies in a timely manner.

The board ended its Dec. 8 meeting with a closed session. No reason was given for the meeting.


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