Troy BOE passes $21M budget

Published 10:41 pm Monday, August 17, 2009

Despite challenges in funding, the Troy City Schools system passed a budget that will not take cuts on classroom learning or dip into the board’s savings account.

The approximate $21 million budget is balanced, and is sound considering proration challenges throughout the year, said Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith.

“This does not call for us going into our reserve,” Felton-Smith said.

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The reserve funds for the school system, after proration from the year, have dropped from around $11 million to $10 million.

The budget funds salaries of approximately 267 employees for the system and includes local funds for classroom supplies.

While the school system doesn’t project having to draw from its savings account in the coming year, Felton-Smith said it is something the schools will have to do should proration take another toll this year.

“If the 6 percent proration is called, we will have to go into our reserve to make up for that 6 percent,” Felton-Smith said.

That would come at around $679,000 to the city schools, said former Chief Financial Officer Joyce Deveridge.

Also in the meeting, the board discussed its recent Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results. AYP is an annual review of academic achievement based predominately on testing and essentially serves as a report card for the school systems.

While the school system as a whole achieved all its goals, Troy Elementary School and Charles Henderson High School fell short in two areas.

TES missed its goal in math for special education students and CHHS missed its reading goal for students who receive free or reduced lunches.

But, Felton-Smith said the system has appealed its scores for the high school, and if approved, will have met AYP at CHHS.

While those schools are off, Felton-Smith said the system still has a lot to be proud of in its achievements.

“We have a lot to be pleased with, but the focus is always where you have a red cell,” Felton-Smith said. “Yes, we’re disappointed. To not have all schools make AYP brings me to tears because we work so hard. But, too often we forget what we do right.”

And in efforts to continue doing “right,” TES Principal Geoffrey Spann made a presentation to the board on some of the steps the school is taking to improve reading and math efficiency of all students.

Spann said all teachers keep math and reading at the core of their classroom teaching and spend additional time with those students who are falling behind. But, with additional resource teachers this year, Spann said students who need additional help in those subjects will now be able to spend time outside of class getting additional help.

Also in the meeting, the board approved to have an academic audit, where a group will come from outside the school system to review the academic process.

“We plan to have a team that will be in the schools for 10 days and will present us with a full-blown report of our strengths and weaknesses,” Felton-Smith said.

Felton-Smith said the group will come to the school system in September.