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Effingham County Schools adopts new budget
Budget includes salary increases for teachers and school staff
Kids in classroom

By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald

The Effingham County Board of Education approved the 2023-2024 budget of just over $162 million at its regular meeting on June 27. The new budget, which went into effect with the new fiscal year on July 1, keeps the current millage rate of 15.810 with no rollback.

“As we embark on this new school year, we recognize and take seriously the commitment and sacrifices the tax paying citizens of Effingham County put forth for us to have this awesome opportunity to educate our future,” said Dr. Yancy Ford, superintendent of Effingham County Schools.

“I am most thankful we were able to give both our certified and classified staff members raises,” Dr. Ford continued. “Each of them are on the front lines every day making our school district great; and I along with our board cannot thank them enough for their commitment and dedication to empowering and supporting our students.”

Of the $162 million budget for the new school year, more than $20.5 million will be spent on teacher and staff salaries and benefits, according to the district.

The current millage rate of 15.810 has been the same since 2021; however, tax revenues have steadily increased due to the county’s growth and increased property values.

By adopting the budget without the millage rate rollback, the district is anticipating a balance of just over $315,000 at the end of June 2024. If the millage rate had been rolled back to 14.913, the district projected a deficit of $2.5 million for the year.

Student and Parent handbook approved

In other action the school board approved the 2023-2024 student and parent handbook. Among the most notable changes are:

·       “No Expectation of Privacy” – As the district installs video cameras on buses and also in hallways and classrooms of buildings, students, staff, and visitors should be mindful of live video recording.

“There's no expectation of privacy on buses nor in the public areas of Effingham County Schools. Video cameras may be placed on buses, classrooms and in public areas of campuses of Effingham County Schools,” said Travis Nesmith, district assistant superintendent of curriculum and technology, reading from a revised section of the handbook. He added that video cameras will not be placed in bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, or private offices.

The new section of the handbook continues, “Video surveillance shall only be used to promote the order, safety, and security of students, staff, and property. Video recordings may become part of a student’s educational record or a staff member’s personnel record if it could be used as evidence in a disciplinary matter.”


·       Uniform policy clarification

“No clothing or accessories which through language or graphics display, exploit, sanction or promote drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gangs, sex, violence, discrimination, vulgarity or unlawful activity are allowed,” according to the handbook. New for 2023-2024, is the following: “This would include political messages of any kind.” The handbook stipulates this rule applies to uniforms and “dress-down” days.

·       Attendance policy clarifications

Another clarification to the new handbook includes students being marked “present” in school while attending various “Activity Day” functions. These include a student in foster care attending court proceedings pertaining to their case; students attending 4-H activities during instruction time, job shadowing, college visits (one for juniors and two for seniors each year); and various school-sponsored activities, such as field trips.

·       No Grubhub deliveries

While the handbook previously stated that students are not allowed to receive deliveries of flowers, balloons, or gifts during school, the following had to be added for 2023-2024: “Students are not allowed to have food delivered (via DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.) during the school day. Food will be confiscated and students will receive disciplinary action from school administration. Students are allowed to bring a lunch from home.”

The First Day of School is Aug. 3.