City BOE prepares budget, gets ready for new year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

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The Troy City School System is dusting off its classrooms and getting ready for business, because, on August 5- the first day of school for students- the halls will no longer bare the faint resemblance of a ghost town.

The Troy City Board of Education has created a proposed budget for the fiscal year of Oct. 1- Sept. 30, but the board will meet more before the budget is passed.

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"We are going to be playing catch up and we have to be in a financial position to be able to do that. It won’t be a fat budget, but it will be a budget that will take care of needs," said Hank Jones, superintendent.

"From a number crunch point, this school system has not suffered like some. We have made our cutbacks, but we are lucky. We are going to be running a tight schedule this year," he said.

According to the budget report, there were 2,300 students enrolled in the system last year and 146 teachers, principals and counselors, also referred to as "units," on the payroll.

According to the proposed annual budget, the system will spend $77,134 on teacher materials and supplies, which would be $525 per unit, $25,593 on technology, which would be $181 per unit, $19,835 on library enhancement, which would be $135 per unit, $8,815 on professional development, which would be $60 per unit, and $132,258 on textbooks.

The system will spend $5,638,069 on salaries, $1,520,783 on fringe benefits and $1,627,888 on other current expense.

The board passed an amendment that raised the pay for substitute teachers, a move that the board hopes will also raise the quality of substitute teachers.

The past pay was $42 for one day and the new pay is now $50, which is average for the area, Jones said.

There will also be nine cameras added to the campus as Charles Henderson Middle School, an addition that is hoped to "take care of immediate needs."

The bid was awarded to Troy Cablevision for $17,578.

The board decided to add the cameras after being pleased with the cameras at the high school, which the board saw as a deterrent to misbehavior and criminal acts.

"The interesting thing is that we haven’t tried to hide them. We want the kids to know that, yes, Big Brother is watching," Jones said.

During the past school year, the on-campus police officer noticed suspicious activity in the parking lot. A person appeared to have approached a vehicle and then walked away in a manner that indicated a possible illegal exchange was made.

However, the tape was reviewed, officials were able to determine that the girl set a Burger King cup in the vehicle.

The moral of the story: the camera could see what was actually happening, and Jones said it did not even take two hours for that moral to make it around the entire school.

Camera surveillance is not an unusual form of discipline on campuses, according to Jones’s observations and research.

"As you move north, many of the systems have cameras," he said.

There was also an incident that involved the attack of a student and predated the implementation of the cameras on the high school campus. The board felt closure could have been more readily made if the cameras had been there.